Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) is in Hoover, Ala., taking part in the National Select 7 on 7 Championships, but the challenge this week for coach Rush Probst has been more than what’s happening on the field.
Earlier this week, 17-year-old running back Tykerious “Grump” Jones was charged with murder and criminal intent to commit armed robbery in the shooting death of a 68-year-old man. The shooting happened on July 5 but Jones was among seven charged Thursday.
Probst offered condolences to the family of the victim and expressed his deep disappointment.
He added that skipping the event that the team had qualified for was never considered. He spoke to the team Thursday about how to handle the situation.
“Not one player who is here and not one coach was involved,” he told AL.com. “How do you punish that group? You don’t. I challenge anyone who says you do. If they do, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Of the six other teenagers charged, two of them — Key Pinkins and Brandon Wynn — played on Colquitt County’s state championship team last year.
“He was not the shooter,” Propst told AL.com. “He was not in the car that did the shooting, but he was at the scene. … If he is guilty of anything, it was being at the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong group of people. Does that make him a murderer? I don’t think that’s a murder rap.”
Prosbt said the team will find a way to take “this negative and make it a positive somehow this year.”
Entering Saturday’s championship round, Colquitt was the fifth seed.