MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Mid-South high school football star is beating the odds. While he is great on the football field, it’s his ability to keep going no matter what that is shaping his bright future.
It’s a couple of hours before game time for the Crusaders. The bleachers at First Assembly Christian School aren’t full yet and the scoreboard isn’t going, but senior Brian Shields Jr. is already getting ready.
“I’m hoping for 250+ yards,” said Shields. Technically, he’s a running back and receiver, but he just considers himself an athlete.
“I fell in love with the game as soon as I touched the football at three years old,” he said.m Since 9th grade he’s become the face of FACS’s football in Cordova, fittingly sporting number one.
“I have people looking up to me so always make sure I’m doing the right thing,” Shields said.
That’s something Head Coach Mitch McDaniel has drilled into his head and helmet. “It’s being a good person. Teaching them to be good father, husband, and mentor to younger players.”
When Brian is on the field, it’s about touchdowns and yards. But he knows one person will always be on the sidelines– his mom.
“She’s been there since day one,” Shields said. “Never missed a game. Even though I tell her, ‘Mom you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ she critiques my game.”
His mom’s support is even more crucial this year because he’s starting his senior season without his other big fan.
“During last season, I got a bad call that my brother was locked up,” Shields said. “It took a toll on me because I’m never without my brother and we built a relationship. He was supposed to come to my games”
His brother has been behind bars for almost a year-and-a-half awaiting trial for multiple crimes.
Despite it all, he’s using his losses as motivation to get wins on the field.
“Brian is a great kid,” said Coach McDaniel. “Turned into a great player for us and one of the core leaders of this football team.”
Shields said, “Waking up every morning knowing that I’m a good player and person– it helps me get through my day knowing I put smiles on people’s faces.”
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When asked what football means to him, Shields answered, “Even though I’m a good person, football determines who I am. I have a bright spot on the field and off the field so without this, I’m nothing.”
But with great character, he’s everything– on and off the field.