KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Although he’s not yet on East Kentwood’s varsity football team, Alonte Brandon is already a big inspiration for the Falcons.
“He’s always the type of person you want all your guys to be,” said head coach Jeremy Gasper.
“I like being able to show people I can do whatever I want to,” added Alonte, a sophomore on East Kentwood’s junior varsity football team.
Alonte does that with every step he takes.
“My prosthetic starts right here,” Alonte said, gesturing down to his left leg.
Because of complications at birth, Alonte has no left leg from his knee down.
It hasn’t stopped him from trying nearly every sport. But it’s football that always tugs at his heart.
“I’m a big boy,” Alonte said with a chuckle. “I like getting physical and doing the dirty work so our running backs can get all the glory.”
Alonte is an offensive lineman. He takes great pride in his team winning. However, the real victories for him come during the week of practice when he pushes his leg to its physical limit to improve.
“He sometimes doesn’t get nearly as much time on the field as others,” said Gasper. “It’s just because he simply can’t be as fast as you need to be for football as the levels get a little higher at times.”
“It’s hard,” said Alonte. “Sometimes I just break down and cry.”
“It is hard because I don’t get the reps I need and that I want,” he explained. “I can’t get better if I’m just sitting out, so it takes a mental strain on me.”
“And yet every day he has a smile on his face,” Gasper said emphatically.
The example Alonte sets impacts his friends far greater than pushing an opponent out of the way so a teammate can score a touchdown.
“He loves the game a lot, a lot,” said teammate Bobby Durr. “He likes to be out here, even on the bad days.”
“He’s the life of the team,” added Mekhi Baker. If he’s down, we are all down. If he’s happy, we are all happy.”
“He’s got a happy spirit about him, understanding that every day is a gift and not everything is awarded to you automatically,” said Gasper. “His whole family rallies around that type of idea.”
“I want people to learn that you can do anything you want,” said Alonte. “If people doubt you, use that as motivation and follow your dreams.”