On Saturday, a young man in Savannah lost his life. His name was George Akins Jr., and he was gunned down outside of McDonalds, waiting for his parents to come pick him up.
To be honest, those two sentences were the hardest I’ve ever had to write. I coached George when I worked at Windsor Forest last year, and he was one of the good ones. He was 15 years old, and he loved football. He was a brother, a teammate, and a son, and from everything I ever saw of him, he was a good kid.
Georgie Boy is what I always called him, and every time he heard me say it, he’d look at me with this big smile and just start laughing. He came out every day and busted his tail to make himself and his team better. Sure, he had his bad days like anybody else, but I always had the feeling that he wanted to do things the right way.
I found out about George’s death early Sunday morning. I was watching film for our game this week and a headline flashed across my computer about a teenager being killed on Abercorn. I clicked on the story and my heart dropped when I saw the name. As a coach, losing a player or former player is the hardest thing to deal with; it’s like losing one of your own children. Even though I don’t work at WF anymore, Georgie Boy was still one of mine, just like every other player I’ve ever coached.
I called Greg Busby, the head football coach at Windsor, and I tried to give him some words of encouragement before he met with his players, but I don’t know of anything you can say at that moment that’ll help stop the pain of losing one of your kids.
I still don’t know what I could say to his parents or his teammates or his coaches to make any of this better, but I do know one thing — he won’t be forgotten. Too many people in the Windsor Forest and Savannah communities cared a lot for that young man. Georgie Boy’s smile and laughter will forever be a part of The Castle.
BRADWELL THIS WEEK: The Tigers travel to Springfield on Friday for a big Region 2-AAAAAA matchup with Effingham. Both teams have struggled in their first two region games, and a win would all but guarantee a playoff berth. Effingham brings a strong stable of offensive weapons and a stout defense, especially against the run. We will have to play fundamental, physical football. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Effingham County High School.
B.I. FOOTBALL TRUNK OR TREAT: Remember, the Tigers will hold a Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bradwell football complex. Tiger football players will be in costume, handing out candy and other treats to the area youth in attendance. Pre-sale tickets are available through Friday for $3 and include entry to the event, a hotdog or hamburger, a drink, and a treat of your choice (popcorn, cotton candy, etc.). You can buy a ticket at the gate as well for $1, but food is not included with the $1 ticket. For more information about the event, or to purchase a ticket e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Bradwell Institute at 100 Pafford St. and ask to purchase a ticket.
Couch is Bradwell Institute football coach. He’s also a former award winning sportswriter.