Rivals unite after death of Houston standout


by Braden Berg (for Ozarks Sports Zone)

The Houston Tigers have had a great start to the season, 4-1.

On Friday, a recent grad was looking forward to seeing his old team take on an SCA heavyweight.

But instead, Houston’s hearts were heavy, honoring a friend who died too soon.

Although they were competing Friday night, the Houston and Ava communities came together to help those grieving the loss of Connor Clifton.

“In this past week Houston lost one of their own and recent graduate Connor Clifton. At this time we would like all to stand and remove all head wear for a moment of silence……. Amen and thank you”

The stadium held a moment of silence before the game and between the first and second quarter, money was collected to help the family of Clifton.

“Get ready, get set, go! Fill the buckets…” And fill they did, everyone working to get as much money as they could to the buckets.

“You got cheerleaders and ladies on the side that will also take. 100% of all of this tonight will go to the family. 100%. You can continue to make your donation, make sure your donation is taken by the ladies in the rows.” said the PA Announcer during the 60 second money collection. “We do want to say thank you to each and every one of you. And Houston community we stand with you.”

Ava Coach Dan Swofford says they are familiar with what Houston is going through, he says their team has been through it several times before.

“You lose a former player it is like losing part of the family. And I know that this is how Houston felt about this young man and we want to support them and let them know that we understand and have empathy for them.” said Swofford.

Houston football coach Eric Sloan says that his players are very emotional following the loss of Clifton…

And Coach Swofford says his players are trying to help…

“Some of the players are wanting to get together with them after the game and pray with them and I think that is awesome that those kids are thinking along those lines.” said Swofford.

Two communities coming together through football to help those grieving the loss of a former standout player, Connor Clifton.