BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The high school football season ended just a few weeks ago but the sport is still serving a major purpose for one of its athletes at Frontier High School. For Frontier’s Danny Overton it was more as it gave him the purpose he needed to overcome tragedy.
During week three of the Kern High School District’s spring high school football season the Frontier Titans defeated BHS 28-7. Junior running back and linebacker Danny Overton led the team in rushing with 92 yards and scored twice. But that game wasn’t about the score or the stats.
It was about who the Titans were playing for.
"I didn't want to like go straight back to football because it was just like, it was a rough time. But I knew that if I went back, it would help me through everything,” said Overton.
Earlier that week Danny’s 17-year-old step-brother Anthony “AJ” Terrill unexpectedly died in a tragic accident.
“We had a really good bond and we did everything. Like we loved the same stuff. We love playing football. We love to skate together. We did anything together.”
After a few days with family, Danny decided to return to the field and with a new purpose.
“I knew I was going to play as hard as I could and do as much as I can. I just knew I was going to dedicate that game to him.”
“You know even him one day a week preparing. You know he's gonna give everything he has to the game to his team," said Frontier head coach Chris Bandy. "And so that was, you know, as a coach, you kind of take a backseat to what's going on.”
Bandy and his staff watched Danny have a breakout performance. Just five days after losing his brother.
“It seemed like every big play came to him like it was just meant to be so it was, it was definitely emotional for us coaches too because we like, I mean you know we care about him so much we care about all our guys like they're our own so to see him go through that was tough. But then to see him come out of that and the way he handled it. As a young man and, you know, really made us proud of him.”
And a family already, the bond of these Titans grew stronger.
“I think every single one person texted me at least one time. I got multiple texts from three different people and it just made me feel like I was loved by this family, and every coach texted me and it just made me want to come out and support them and like how they were supporting me through the rough time.”
Frontier would finish the season 4-1 as Danny capped the spring with a hat-trick performance.
“I knew coming out that game I wanted to show my seniors, my brother, show everyone what I was about, just so coming back next year, I'm gonna do the same thing.”
As Danny is already putting in the work to build off this season for next year there’s a realization that AJ won’t be in the stands to see that progress but he’ll be even closer. As no. 15 will continue playing for both of them.
“How much he loved football and how much I should be living football just because I find out he can't play right now, down here, then I should be playing for him while he's up there. He's proud of like everyone and everything. Everyone's doing like outside of sports and stuff like that, I just tell him that I love him. I'll be having a good time like I know he is, he is a really energetic person and is really good person.”
Danny will suit up in the fall for his senior season with higher expectations for himself and extra motivation from above.