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IN FOCUS: Howard measures last chance differently

Published on Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lower Richland's S.C. High School League forced forfeit meant more a trip to greater Clemson for Blue Ridge.

For senior receiver Brennen Griffin, it meant one more touchdown in a Tigers uniform. 

For senior running back Mikal Robinson, it meant one more slippery run into the end zone for a score.

But for senior defensive back Justin Howard, it meant facing the end of his football career as more than a bystander.

Howard, who missed his junior season with a back fracture, had all but accepted that his season was over after suffering a concussion against Greenville and displaying post-concussion syndrome symptoms ever since.

When the Tigers opened the playoffs against Lower Richland, "Coach" Howard was on the sidelines his No. 17 jersey without pads. Last week, the pads were back.

Howard had visited the athletic trainer hoping to be cleared to work out, but wasn't thinking about playing football again. That didn't happen until Thursday.

"I got a call from coach telling me to come get some pads," Howard said. "I'd had my best week as far as being symptom-free. So, I asked the trainer to give me a chance to pass some tests."

A doctor's visit later, Howard was cleared to play.

He had one more chance for one more game.

"We lost, and that's disappointing," he said. "But I got one more game. The Lord gave me a game, and that's what I was asking for."

How about that? Not every victory is measured on the scoreboard.

 

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