Arthur Carter and Anthony Brooks, teammates on the O’Bannon High School football team, are two young men who have each had to mature quickly in their young lives.
Brooks’ mother, Shunya, began a long and tough battle with breast cancer more than four years ago. Shunya is now cancer free, but she remains paralyzed from the waist down because the cancer once spread to her spine.
“She is doing well now, but she is still paralyzed,” Brooks said. “It is tough, but I have to fight through it. She needs me to be there for her, so I have to be there. After practice is over, I am going home to look after her. She is a great woman, and she has taught me how to push through things and become stronger.”
Brooks’ teammate, Arthur Carter, has also had to help his mother recover from a serious injury.
Three year’s ago, Carter’s mother, was driving home from church when she was hit from behind by another vehicle. Her car flipped over multiple times before ending up in an open field. Carter’s mother suffered multiple broken bones in the crash.
“It took a long time for her to get better, and I did everything I could to help her recover,” Carter said. “I think it definitely made me a stronger person because I know how fragile life can be.”
Both Carter and Brooks each credit both their families and O’Bannon football coach Lynn Lang with helping them become the young men that that they are now.
“Coach Lang is a great coach,” Brooks said. “He has taught me about what it means to have loyalty. I like the way he coaches. He has stuck with me through thick and thin.”
Brooks, an offensive and defensive tackle, said he knows he has a lot to learn from Lang since Lang played his same position at Alcorn State.
“I know if I follow the things he taught me, I will be my best. Those things are integrity, leadership, and just beleiving in all your teammates,” he said.
With coach Lang leading the way, both Carter and Brooks each believe this is the year they put the O’Bannon Greenwaves back on the football map.
“We haven’t been good for a for few years, but we are going to show them what O’Bannon Greenwaves football is all about,” said Brooks said.
Lang will be entering his third season as head coach when his O’Bannon Greenwaves begin their season on Aug. 27 against Coahoma County, but, this season will be the first time he will be entering the year with a full head of steam.
In his first year at O’Bannon, Coach Lang took over a team that had just lost 21 seniors to graduation. Then, last year, was the year of COVID. Everybody’s life was turned upside down because of the pandemic, including high school football coaches.
Lang lost many of his best players last season to private schools in the area when the private schools announced they would play football and it appeared that the public schools would not.
“Because of the time span we had last year, we didn’t have long to work with the guys.”
“We didn’t have a spring. And, then we only had two weeks before the season started to practice,” Coach Lang said.