Langston’s gridiron memorial

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Less than two hours before Friday night’s football showdown between King’s Fork High School and Lakeland High School, Cavaliers star junior Alajuwun Langston received tragic news.

Lakeland High School junior Alajuwun Langston came back to help his team on Friday, the night his brother died, seeking to play for his brother and make him proud.

Lakeland High School junior Alajuwun Langston came back to help his team on Friday, the night his brother died, seeking to play for his brother and make him proud.

His brother, Algernon Langston, 40, had suffered a heart attack and passed away.

The younger Langston went to be with his family at the hospital. But when they returned home, he opted to go back to the gridiron.

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He returned to Lakeland and entered the stadium with his normal pre-game mentality but with his brother in mind.

“I’m going to try to go out here and play for him, because I know this is what he’d want me to do,” he recalled thinking that night. “He always talked to me about football.”

Algernon Langston was a strong supporter of his brother, frequently coming to his games and even offering advice.

Alajuwun Langston remembered his big brother telling him, “You’ve got to take it to them, you’ve got to step up and be a leader of the game.”

Following the game on Friday night, Cavaliers coach Kevin Knight’s thoughts were with his standout running back/wide receiver/cornerback.

“It’s going to really hit him when he gets home, I know,” the coach said. “He played with a heavy heart tonight, but he still gave his all.”

At about 5:30 p.m. that day, Alajuwun Langston had been in the midst of a normal game day.

“We were stretching, warming up,” he said. “The whole team had just came out. We were out there just doing our normal routine, and then I saw my dad walk on the field.”

“Coach Knight called me and told me that I need to go with my dad,” he continued. “My dad told me when we were walking out on the way to the hospital.”

He spent time with his family at the hospital, but he said seeing everything is what made him want to play that night.

“Really, I didn’t want to face it right then, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to get something else on my mind. I don’t feel like going home.’”

So he returned to Lakeland and played.

“It was hard a little bit, though, because they’d be doing some plays where I’d just be thinking about him,” he said.

Knight was proud of him for giving his all.

“My hat goes off to Alajuwun,” Knight said. “That just shows you what type of person he is. He’s just a competitor. I don’t think anybody else could have done what he did.”

The Lakeland football team has been a key source of support for Langston during this difficult time. Knight has called him; teammates have been texting him.

Defensive coordinator Ronald Richardson, senior wide receiver/defensive back Andre Drayton, senior linebacker Monte Hillard and sophomore running back/linebacker DeAndre Faulk took him to the Oscar Smith High School-Indian River High School game on Saturday.

“We just felt the need to go over there and get him out of the house,” Drayton said on Wednesday. “We went up there again last night to talk to him. We just talked about football the whole time.”

Algernon Langston was Alajuwun’s only brother, and Alajuwun mentioned the void he is feeling because of that, Drayton said.

“We just told him that we’re his brothers now,” Drayton said.

“We’re a family over here,” Knight said. “Everybody’s family. We love each other, we support each other no matter what.”

Though his brother, who he remembers for his great sense of humor, is gone, Langston said he knows he will gain strength from him moving forward.