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High school quarterback plays through the pain of losing parents to COVID-19



AUSTIN (KXAN) – In his time at Pflugerville High School in Texas, quarterback Jaylon Reeves has been the alpha, leading the way and showing strength while always remaining steady.

It’s been his leadership that his head coach, Charles Taylor, appreciates.

“He’s a calming force in that huddle. Once he gets in between those lines, he can play,” said Taylor.

However, his love for football was put to the test earlier this year when his mother Chrisla and father Jason, a former University of Texas linebacker, both died from COVID-19 in February just days apart.

“They were doing OK. It was just, like, a little cough. A week later, my parents stopped responding, so I had to send them to the hospital,” Reeves explained.

Because of the restrictions regarding visitors, Reeves was not able to say goodbye to his parents at the hospital, making the loss even more difficult.

Their death forced Reeves to take a break — not only from football, but from school — to cope with the loss.

“My dad, me and him did everything together. Like our whole family was just close. I’ve never lost anybody in my life before, just them being like the first people to go, it just don’t feel real because they were with me every single day ever since my sister went off to college,” he said.

“Them just passing away and having to know that they’re not with me is just difficult. Difficult and very depressing.”

Pflugerville High School senior Jaylon Reeves

Throughout his break, Reeves stayed connected to the Panthers, and, when he was ready, he decided to give it a go for his final season.

“I finally found my way back because all my friends played, and I just enjoyed playing it, and my dad [would’ve] wanted me to, so I just had to get back to it.”

Pflugerville High School football coach Charles Taylor discussing his quarterback Jaylon Reeves. (Todd Bynum/KXAN)

Of course, his teammates and coaches were more than happy to welcome Reeves back, once he was ready to return.

“This is what he loves to do,” Taylor said. “He comes from a family of football, you know, and I think this was the thing that kept him grounded a little bit.”

“He’s like, the strongest person on the field,” senior running back Elijah Oakmon said. “He’ll always be the strongest person on the field, mentally and physically. That’s what I like about Jaylon.”

As difficult as it may be, Reeves always thinks about his parents, even when he’s on the field.

“They’re proud of me and they love me for pushing myself and my sister and my family,” Reeves said. “I feel like they’re really proud, that’s all I’ve got to do is just make them proud.”

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