“Never twice will I be defeated by the same foe.

1st up Jasper…Redemption Mode.”

-the last status update on Facebook by Reggie Garrett.

Friday night, Reggie’s coaches and teammates made sure that this mission was complete. The Mustangs beat Jasper, 27-6, but lost their great leader in the process.

In my seven years of writing for The Record, I have had several times that it was almost impossible to write my weekly story. Those were all losses that just devastated me. However, those don’t compare to writing this story over the loss of an extraordinary, young quarterback, who left this earth doing what he loved.

Two weeks ago, my story began with a quote from Reggie’s Facebook page.

I was preparing to write what I thought was a difficult story about the last minute loss to Friendswood when he came into my room to check on his senior ad for the football program. He stood at my desk with a couple of his teammates. I told them that I just wasn’t sure how to start the story because we had played such a great game and yet had lost in the end.

Reggie suggested that I use his quote from Facebook and after he told me what it said, I knew that would be the lead of my story.

“In the slightest of margins, one can win for losing.”

I then mentioned how much the team had changed since the scrimmage against Dayton, where we lost, 24-0. The three of them, Reggie, center Luke Domas and cornerback Da’Carlos Renfro put their heads together to try to come up with the perfect quote about the change in the team. Although I attributed that quote to Luke, it was a group effort.

As far as most memorable moment on the field for Reggie, I would almost bet that he would say it was his record-setting 99-yard pass to receiver Mark Roberts last year in the play-off game against Coldspring. This is a record that will never be broken. But more than being known for setting records, Reggie was known by his teammates and classmates for setting an example.

He was a straight-A honor student, who was ranked in the top of his class. He was known more for his bright smile and his positive outlook. In fact, in a paper that he wrote for his senior English class the first week of school, he even describes himself as having a positive outlook when he spoke.

As the team leader, he wasn’t loud but always seemed to get his message across. He spoke a clear message and his teammates never wondered where he stood as far as his expectations of them or his goals for the team.

I have several things that have consoled me during this time. Number one is that I know he is in heaven, having the time of his life. Number two, he left this earth doing what he loved to do, throwing a touchdown pass to his favorite receiver. Number three, he has 34 players that can carry on and finish out the season for him. Number four, he has a couple of guys that can step into that leadership role and not miss a beat.

For those that wonder where the 112% came from, he always had “112%” written on his wrist bands because he pledged to give 112% when he played instead of 110 since his football number was 12.

He will be honored at a memorial Friday night, 6-8 p.m. at Dan R. Hooks Stadium.

Visitation will be Saturday morning, 9-11 a.m. at Community Church with the funeral at noon, his football number.

I would like to personally thank those who have given up their time to help us at the high school. Eleven districts in our area have sent counselors to help out-Hardin Jefferson, Orangefield, Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Vidor, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Silsbee, Port Neches-Groves, Hamshire-Fannett and Newton. I would also like to thank all of the area ministers who have put in time to help our students begin the healing process. You can not understand what this means to us at West Orange-Stark High School. The athletic office has received numerous phone calls and emails from some as far away as Hawaii and some as famous as the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears.

Thank you to those who have taken the time to call, email, pray or stop by to show your support. Words cannot express our gratitude for your support in this time here at WO-S High School.