WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) — Go to any high school game and find parents filling the stands each and every week.
It’s a luxury easily taken for granted that some parents like Antonio Coffey don’t have.
“It’s been a minute since I’ve been around to actually see An’darius play football,” Coffey said.
As a member of the United States Military, Coffey has been stationed in South Korea. His son An’darius plays quarterback for the Ainona Tigers and he hasn’t seen him play since his very first football game.
“I made an attempt but I was always either deployed or I was stationed so far out I just couldn’t make any games or training exercise,” Coffey said.
About a week before the Tigers’ homecoming game the Coffey family had a happy homecoming all of their own.
“He just ran to me and he picked me up,” Coffey said. “I was like, he’s gotten so big now he picked me up. I could hear him just wanting to cry and he’s like ‘Dad, I don’t want to be out here crying in front of my boys like that,’ and he had me crying. Then I looked over and saw his Mom crying. I was like, that’s one of the most emotional parts of my life with him.”
“I was shocked because it had been such a long time,” junior quarterback An’darius Coffey said. “They’ve been holding him back from coming plenty of times that he’s been wanting to come. It was…I was very shocked to see him.”
There’s no question that for An’darius this homecoming meant just a little bit more.
“I’ve been working for it since, to make him proud and make all my parents proud. Just to see him out there and feel him out there makes me feel like he supports that. So they make me feel a lot better.”
It doesn’t sound like Coffey plans to stop watching his son play anytime soon.
“I’m just so proud to be his dad. I promised this year, I told him, I said ‘I’m going to go to at least three games this year.’ I’m on my way to do two right now but my plan is when they go to state is to make that the last. That third game is going to be the state championship.”
The Tigers won its homecoming game 51-0, but it’s fair to say Winona won the day in many ways.