Soldier returns home, surprises cousin at game

Soldier returns home, surprises cousin at game (Video credit: Tommy Wood)

CLAY COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was a special moment at the Central-Clay and Satsuma game Friday night when Central Clay defensive lineman Tyshawn Kerley was surprised by his cousin who returned home from deployment.

“We still get chills watching it today,” said Central-Clay Volunteers PA announcer and AHSAA TV Weekly Game of the Week announcer Tommy Wood.

U.S. Army Sgt. Kenneth Malik Howard was serving overseas for three and a half years. He spent the last two years in Germany.

Wood said he got a call from one of the volunteer moms, who said Howard was going to surprise Kerley and come to his game Friday night.

Wood said they decided to make the surprise on the field.

“So, I talked to our head coach, Danny Horn, and asked coached Horn if Ty could be the captain,” Wood said.

Wood said Kerley was named captain of the week and hid Howard in the bleachers on the visitor’s side.

“When they went out for the coin toss, I tried to time it out,” said Wood. “When the coin toss wrapped up, we were bringing [Howard] out.”

“The timing worked pretty good, except Ty started to run back,” Wood said. “I just asked him to stay where he was, and that’s when it all kind of timed out pretty well.”

Both sides gave a standing ovation, Wood said. The Satsuma Gators were also applauding the surprise reunion.

“And their coach came over and shook Sergeant Howard’s hand, and that was a really neat thing, too,” said Wood.

Wood said it was the coolest moment he ever had.

And, it was a good night for the Volunteers.

Central-Clay defeated Satsuma 45-14 in the first round of playoffs. They face the Andalusia Bulldogs in round two.

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