CHHS paying tribute

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

A year after Demario Harris Jr. collapsed then died, during the CHHS-Davidson football game, students and athletes at both schools are paying tribute to the athlete and his legacy.

“Me and Mr. Harris and everybody involved thought it was very necessary to honor Demario with it being almost a year,” said Trojans head coach Brad McCoy. “We thought it would be special to bring out the student body, the football team and anyone else who wants to be a part of it. To say our thoughts and prayers for Demario and his family.”

Harris, a 17-year-old senior cornerback, collapsed on the field Sept. 26, 2014, as Charles Henderson High School hosted the Davidson Warriors, he died two days later.

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Although a year has passed the presence of Harris can be found all over Troy, from people wearing #FlyHigh shirts to a picture of Harris in Trojan head coach Brad McCoy’s office

“It’s amazing that a year has gone by,” said McCoy, who was in his first year as Trojan head coach. “We don’t want to lose sight in what is important. Last year when that happened, all our priorities changed.”

On the field Harris was known as Squirrel, a nickname given to him in middle school for his quick speed, energy and agility. His talents on the field were drawing interest from schools like Jacksonville State and Murray State, and he was beloved by his classmates.

“He was a people person and a joy to be around,” McCoy said. “He made it so easy to have fun around him. It was so fun to share moments with him because he was so personable. He carried on a conversation with you and joked around with you, but when it was time be serious and concentrate, whether it was academics or football he could draw the line and switch gears real easily.”

McCoy said the anniversary of Harris’ death brings the opportunity to pay tribute and reflect.

“It’s going to be exactly what everyone would expect,” McCoy said. “I’m sure the entire school will come out during the 10-15 minutes that we will be together to reflect on Demario and say a few words about him and about how much we appreciated what he brought to everyday of his life. I know he made everyone around him better.”

Before the team departs for Mobile today, students will hold a gathering on campus to remember the life of Harris and the impact that he had on the school and the community. His father, Demario Harris Sr., will be in attendance tonight in Mobile to watch the Trojans and the Warriors play.

And, after arriving at Ladd Peebles Stadium both the Trojans and Warriors will run on to the field then walk to the mid-field for a handshake and for a moment of reflection.

“We are going to say a few words right there together and both of us (McCoy and Warriors coach Fred Riley) discussed that if we get a delay of game penalty we would both decline it,” McCoy said. “We want to make sure that we honor Demario and his family … Our kids are excited about playing hard and representing Demario Harris in a way that it should be.”