Har­lan re­mem­bers ath­lete who died

San Antonio Express-News - - FRONT PAGE - By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje STAFF WRITER

Shomari An­der­son was a won­der on the Har­lan High foot­ball team last sea­son, a re­ceiver so skilled he snagged a key pass Odell Beck­ham Jr.-like with one hand. He also dis­played his tal­ent in the school cor­ri­dors, smil­ing and mak­ing friends. But on Sun­day, hun­dreds of stu­dents, par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered on the foot­ball field to say good­bye to a life cut too short. Shomari, 17, died in a car ac­ci­dent Satur­day.

Hun­dreds of stu­dents, par­ents and other fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered Sun­day on the foot­ball field be­hind Har­lan High School to re­lease blue-and-white bal­loons marked with #82 — the foot­ball num­ber be­long­ing to Shomari An­der­son, who died Satur­day in a car ac­ci­dent.

De­tails of the crash weren’t avail­able, but head coach Ed­die Salas said An­der­son, 17, a start­ing re­ceiver, was driv­ing alone and “ap­par­ently lost con­trol of the car.”

Be­fore the prayer gath­er­ing in this semi-ru­ral area in the North­side In­de­pen­dent School District, the stu­dents — some clutch­ing flower bou­quets and wear­ing letter jack­ets — hugged, cried and then stood silently on the field. Some signed con­do­lence cards for An­der­son’s par­ents, who at­tended the prayer gath­er­ing but didn’t speak.

Their son, who was a ju­nior, and his younger brother, sopho­more Ka­mali An­der­son, moved with the fam­ily from Florida about a year ago.

“Shomari be­came part of our fam­ily,” Salas said, some­times paus­ing to col­lect him­self as he ad­dressed the crowd.

His death “puts ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive,” he said. “Life is all about re­la­tion­ships. It’s not about win­ning or los­ing the game, it’s about lov­ing each other, car­ing for each other.…Shomari’s

legacy will live through me, it will live through all of us.”

Sa­muel Carter, 18, a se­nior and de­fen­sive end on the team, wept openly dur­ing his speech about his late friend.

“This is hard for all of us,” he said. “Shomari was al­ways smil­ing, al­ways en­er­getic. He was more than just a team­mate. He was my brother. All the jokes, all the hard work, all the in­spi­ra­tion on and off the field — it doesn’t stop. He con­tin­ues on.”

In his time on the team, Shomari dis­tin­guished him­self, catch­ing 24 passes for 276 yards and two touch­downs. In the Hawk’s fi­nal game last sea­son, he grabbed a pass one-handed for a first down.

Right be­fore re­leas­ing the bal­loons, which floated away in an opales­cent sky, Carter and the as­sem­bled throng in­toned “Long live Sho, and fly high Alexa.” The lat­ter re­ferred to one of the vic­tims in a re­cent triple mur­der in a gated lux­ury res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in Bo­erne, a 16-year-old who has been de­scribed as a Clark High School stu­dent.

Kayt­lynn By­ron, 17, said be­fore the gath­er­ing she couldn’t quite be­lieve her close friend An­der­son was gone.

“He was such a funny per­son, very out­go­ing,” she said. “When he showed up, ev­ery­one had fun. This just feels fake, that he’s gone. It doesn’t feel real.”

Pho­tos by Car­los Javier Sanchez / Con­trib­u­tor

Har­lan High foot­ball player Sa­muel Carter, fel­low stu­dents and par­ents re­lease bal­loons Sun­day at the school’s foot­ball field to honor an­other foot­ball player, Shomari An­der­son, who was killed in an auto ac­ci­dent Satur­day.

Sa­muel Carter mourns the death of Shomari An­der­son. “This is hard for all of us,” Carter said in a speech. “Shomari was al­ways smil­ing, al­ways en­er­getic.”

Car­los Javier Sanchez / Con­trib­u­tor

Har­lan High School stu­dents and par­ents gather at the cam­pus foot­ball field to honor foot­ball player Shomari An­der­son, who was killed in an auto ac­ci­dent on Satur­day.

Tom Reel / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Har­lan re­ceiver Shomari An­der­son stretches for more yards af­ter a catch against Winn High School.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.