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William Byrd head coach carries on legacy of friend's life lost in battle

Brad Lutz honors a fallen soldier before every football game

VINTON, Va.- – Every Friday night a piece of paper is taped into the locker of every William Byrd football player, listing a fallen soldier, their history, along with a quote. 

A tradition started by head coach Brad Lutz. 

"It's also a great opportunity as a coach to teach these kids really what life is about, and that's what coaching is about. It's been a great opportunity for me," Lutz said. 

"They do so much for us and for something like that, all of it to end, it's sad," senior Trevor Thompson said. 

But the tradition is much more than honoring the fallen-- Lutz lost a friend to battle, as well. 

"Clarence (Adams) and I were high school teammates and anyone who has played the game of football, especially at the high school level, you get the bond," Lutz said. "He went into the Army and did a combat in Kosovo, then ended up in Iraq. In 2004, he was killed by an IED explosion, really kind of shook up my world a little bit."

"I made a promise to him that as long as I was around, that people would know his story, we wouldn't let that be forgotten," he said. 

So at every school he's coached at, Lutz has picked a player on his team who embodies Clarence, and gives that player the opportunity to wear his high school number. 

"He pulled me into his office and told me the story and he wanted me to be 33 because at his old school they used to do that to a player and that meant a lot he wanted me to do it," senior Trevor Thompson said. "It was an honor to do it."

So Thompson decided to don the #33... the jersey of someone he had never met. 

"He was just a great all around athlete and everyone knew he was a good person. Something bad just happened to a really good person, so we just want to continue his story," Thompson said. 

"One of the things that I enjoy about it the most is we're teaching kids that sacrifice has nothing to do with football," Lutz said. "Football is fun, it's tough and it's difficult but it's not sacrifice. What Clarence Adams did, that's sacrifice."


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Brooke Leonard

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.

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