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Winters remembered as a player of few words, big actions

Winters remembered as a player of few words, big actions

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Pictured from left are defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Jed Kennedy, Justin Winters and head coach Rick Darlington.

During Thursday night’s Enterprise High School football banquet, each coach took the time to specially recognize each senior.

Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Jed Kennedy shared his thoughts on Justin Winters, a linebacker who played both inside and outside positions and who Kennedy said he gravitated to after meeting him.

“I know you’re not supposed to have favorites as coaches, but I absolutely love this kid,” he said. “The people that know him well know he doesn’t say a whole lot. What’s funny is that I’m a very outgoing, talkative person—I’ll know everyone in the room five minutes in. This guy might not know anybody. So when he came in, I just kind of gravitated to him.

“He started every game as a junior and he started as a senior. A couple of games in, I got frustrated with him and didn’t start him. There was a point where he was really frustrated and came to me and said ‘Coach, I just really don’t know if I should even finish the last few games.’ What I said to him was, ‘You have worked too hard and you’re too good of a player. For this moment, things seem to be going against you, but it doesn’t mean that every day will.’ What’s crazy is the very next game, he played over 80 percent of the snaps and came up with a big hug afterwards and I said ‘I told ya.’

“He’s a great kid and an awesome part of our basketball team. He’ll be going to Troy to study engineering. I told him if he ever needs help in that field, don’t ask me. I’m proud of this kid and I love him and I’m excited for his future moving forward.”

To the senior class, Kennedy said he appreciates them for taking him in and shared what he calls the best message he’s ever received and what he hopes they’ll take to heart: “I’m not where I ought to be, I’m not where I want to be, I’m not where I’m going to be but I’m better than what I used to be.”

“You’ve certainly haven’t gotten to where you’re going, but I know that this was a great step in helping you get there,” he said. “I love you guys and I appreciate you.”

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