Livingston head coach Finis Vanover has coached countless special kids during his long career around Texas high school football. But DeBrian Rains is a bit extra special.
In an era where many young people demand to be in the spotlight, scoring touchdowns and racking up stats, Rains sacrifices the headlines to help his team.
“We were just decimated on our defensive line due to injuries and we needed help in a bad way. DeBrian never hesitated.” Vanover said. “Sure, he stands just 5-11 and 190 pounds but he plays so much bigger than that. He starts for us now at defensive end and has made a remarkable impact and wreaked havoc with opposing tackles on our schedule.”
Rains remains a part-time running back for Livingston and has rushed for more than 250 yards. But that’s about half of where he was a season before; although Vanover admits he’s making his presence felt in a much more valuable way this season for the Lions.
Through seven games, he’s tallied 48 solo tackles, 22 assists, five sacks, four forced fumbles, two passes knocked down and 10 tackles for loss.
“He sacrificed a lot of limelight and now shines bright for us on defense,” Vanover says. “Then again, this kid has sacrificed plenty just to be on the field at all.”
Vanover is referencing some major health obstacles Rains has faced, which has included a pair of open heart surgeries. Yes, this young man has dealt with much more than beating an offensive tackle on Friday night.
Rains’ doctors cleared him to play and said he can pursue a normal life as long as he monitors his health closely every 12 weeks by going through a couple of days of testing, which he does like clockwork. Anything to play football and dream of perhaps walking on for a college team.
“This kid can do anything. He’s ranked ninth in his class with a 3.62 GPA, he’s a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity,” Vanover says. “He lost his grandma around this time last year and his mom is battling cancer. To say he’s got a lot going on is an understatement. But through it all he’s got the best attitude possible.
“The thing is he knows he’ll likely have another open heart surgery some day and he just never let anything stop him. Can’t say much more than that.”
Coach, you don’t have to. Rains’ actions at such a young age speak volumes for his family, his school and his community.
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