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"I kind of have mixed feelings about football," Rebecca follows. "At the same time, it was an amazing blessing. We met great people, had great opportunities, the doors that have opened for [Luther] because of it has been awesome. We’ve been blessed."
Football has once again been the match to the flame Luther has missed since last playing with the Broncos in 2004, the final of his 10 season in the NFL. He wanted to help coach the Bulldogs a year ago and still regrets not jumping in then. Rebecca said football, simply, is Luther. It’s how she’s always known him.
"It seemed like a piece of him was missing," she said.
Luther paces the sidelines on a steamy Friday night in Salt Lake City. The Judge offense can’t get going against an athletic Woods Cross defensive line. Luther sees Kaden scramble under constant pressure all evening.
While Luther continuously coaches and preps his players, Kaden talks to teammates, asking them their thoughts on how to solve the issues.
They’re part of two teams, two captains leading their respective groups on the same field.
"You definitely have to keep things together and things have to run together," Kaden said. "It’s all one machine. Each part has to do their own thing. You can’t try to go off and do someone else’s part."
‘The every man’
Amid the constant chaos of shrieks and laughter is Kaden, a senior at Judge Memorial. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he looks the part of a high school quarterback in his red No. 10 jersey. He has floppy hair and a reputable approach.
But he has Luther’s determination flowing in those veins. He is the product of football, of a family who approaches life with the intent on emerging victorious in anything it does.
"Kaden definitely has the drive his father does," Judge coach James Cordova said. "There’s no such thing as a day off in the Luther vernacular. Kaden has definitely adopted that into his life."
Cordova said Kaden is the exemplary high school student-athlete, adding that his senior quarterback is humble, contrite and is "the every man."
On Friday nights, Rebecca sits in the stands at McCarthey Stadium and keeps her eyes on Kaden, and if they’re dressing, freshmen Noah and Christian.
Her eyes don’t move.
She describes the feeling of Friday nights as being a nervous wreck. She recalls the days in Detroit and Denver when Luther had control, when he had the moves to chase down quarterbacks and leave them indented in the turf.
Kaden turned 18 on July 10. Rebecca took her son to practice and remembers looking in the passenger seat and the onset feeling of tears filling her eyes. She couldn’t believe the oldest, the rock, her favorite babysitter, could get a tattoo or register to vote. Kaden quipped back he could get arrested for real.
On the radiating turf at Judge Memorial, Luther is coaching. He’s holding a hockey stick, testing the timing and reactions of his defensive linemen. As Luther’s voice echoes in the empty stadium, Kaden jokes with friends in his green quarterback jersey.
Back at home, Kaden sits where Luther sat, carrying the same heir of confidence "Big Daddy" does.
When he’s not in the classroom or under center, Kaden is the next adult. He solves the riffs and breaks up the quarrels. It’s how he translates home to the huddle.
"I wouldn’t have it any other way," he said. "Pluses and minuses."Next Page >
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