Chad Eaton had tears.
A football player described as tough and able to overcome adversity by his coach wiped his eyes while sitting between his parents at a table in the Barren County High School library Wednesday morning.
Nearby, head football coach Jason Esters told Eaton’s story to a crowd gathered to witness the senior Trojan declare his intent to play football at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia.
“Chad has a story of overcoming adversity,” Esters said. “You told me you only played two plays in all of middle school. You could’ve quit, but you persevered.”
Eaton looked down at the table as Esters spoke, then used his hand to wipe his eyes.
The coach continued speaking aloud: “You came to every weightlifting session, every seven-on-seven session. You dedicated yourself to proving everyone wrong.”
Esters said Eaton was the first Barren County player selected to play on the Best of the Bluegrass team.
“You said yourself that you were the smallest player on the field at the Best of the Bluegrass,” he said. “You’ve played with a chip on your shoulder. Use that as a fuel like you have in the past.”
Eaton looked up at Esters and nodded his head in agreement.
After the coach’s speech and photo ops with family, Eaton said, “I’m not use to being the star around here.”
He said middle school football was tough for him and he considered giving up the sport, but stuck with it when then Barren head coach Jeff Richey told him, “I had four brand-new years to make something happen.”
Esters replaced Richey going into Eaton’s freshman year. The player said he and his present head coach developed a bond when Esters let Eaton play quarterback in a varsity game against Monroe County.
“Ever since then we’ve clicked,” Eaton said. “We’ve had the bond for the past four years.”
Eaton moved to wide receiver before his junior season and has excelled at that position.
“He was getting me prepared for the move to college. He thought it was the best decision for me, but I kind of wanted to play quarterback those last two years,” Eaton said with a smile.
“He ended up being one of the team leaders and one of the best players on our team. We moved him to receiver just so we could throw the football,” Esters said. “I’m proud of him because he could have quit, but he stuck it out.”
He has always been one of the smallest players on the field, Esters said, but he has overcome that adversity.
Eaton said he plans to become a teacher and a coach. He will study physical education and health at Lindsey Wilson.
“He’s going to make a good coach one of these days,” Esters said.
Trojan wide receiver to play at Lindsey Wilson College
Chad Eaton had tears.
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