Comets’ Forsythe got taste of Friday Night Lights

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2011



LAPLACE — A cheer arose from the St. Charles crowd late in its 58-0 victory over E.D. White last week, a history-making night that saw the school clinch a 10-0 regular season for the first time in school history. But this cheer had nothing to do with that accomplishment.

Nick Forsythe’s entry into the game had just been announced, and for the first time in his tenure at the school the senior stepped onto the gridiron, wearing number one and lining up at wide receiver.

Forsythe’s on-field career lasted all of one running play up the middle. But it was enough for Forsythe, and the reaction of the fans, his coaches and fellow players made it clear that a play that would be an afterthought on the stat sheet would be extremely memorable nonetheless.

A team manager for the last five years, Forsythe hasn’t had the option to be an on-field contributor for SCC. He suffers from muscular dystrophy, something he’s been afflicted with since the age of seven.

But if you attend a Comets practice, buy a ticket to a game, or visit the field house early on a Saturday morning, you’ll have an easy time finding him helping to keep things running smoothly. His work over the years hasn’t gone unnoticed, least of all by the man who heads the program.

“He’s shown a tremendous amount of loyalty to our program,” said Monica. “He’s been with us through a lot of adversity, in practices, in games. He’s a kid who deals with a handicap, but it doesn’t affect his personality, his work ethic. He sets a tremendous example for the rest of our kids.”

Monica said that getting him into a game was something he considered last season. But senior night, in Forsythe’s senior year, seemed like a perfect opportunity.

“It meant a lot to me,” said Forsythe. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be out there, and he gave me a chance to see it firsthand.”

He said that the experience felt like his friends and classmates on the team said it would.

“Players say the feeling of being out there is almost something you can’t describe. Your stomach gets tight, but you feel a kind of joy that you just have to experience yourself to understand,” he said.

That it came against E.D. White made it even more fitting — Forsythe’s older brother, Blake, stood on the opposing sideline as an assistant with the Cardinals. On his own sideline, he could count his younger brother Tyler, a freshman, as a teammate.

For Forsythe’s classmates — and indeed, teammates — on that night, there was plenty more joy for him.

“I’ve been knowing Nick since the eighth grade,” said Comets senior defensive end LaJaylin Smith. “I know he has a passion for this game. It meant a lot to our entire team to see him out there.”

Said Donnie Savoie, the team’s senior quarterback: “To see him get his chance to go out there and feel what we feel, it was just a great thing. It really makes you appreciate the opportunity we have every Friday night.”

Monica said that it was a special moment.

“It was very, very emotional

for me,” Monica said. “That we were able to do that … everyone was elated for him. It’s something that creates a legacy for him with our program.”

Forsythe led the Comets charge out onto on the field against E.D. White last week.

But from there, it became a waiting game. When the time came to enter, nerves, of course, were a factor.

“Donnie asked me if I heard the crowd cheer,” said Forsythe. “And I had to say I didn’t. All I could hear was my heartbeat.”

It was a night that he said he’ll always remember, as he will his entire tenure with the Comets — a tenure that has a chance to end in storybook fashion, as SCC, seeded second in Class 3A, enters the postseason as a favorite to potentially win it all.

“It’s definitely been one heck of a ride,” Forsythe said. “We’ve always had teams that just seem to try harder, that have a will to win, that have a really strong work ethic. It makes me proud to be here.”