The physical and emotional burden Mi’Trez Rawls took on two years ago was exhausting, to say the least, and it equaled up to nothing short of the toughest time of his young life.
Pine Forest High School (Pensacola, Fl.) standout junior linebacker tore his right ACL on Sept. 15, 2016 — just one day after his birthday. This was a traumatic event in its own right.
It paled in comparison to the tragedy that would follow after his father, Michael Rawls, died on Jan. 9, 2017 of a heart attack.
Then, last September, he tore his right ACL again.
To get from there to where Rawls is today — leading the area with 130 tackles as Pine Forest hosts Crestview in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Friday — is nothing short of a testament to his resiliency.
“I was very discouraged after tearing my ACL,” Rawls said. “My dad always told me that God does everything for a reason and my mom always reminded me to keep God first.
“My dad motivates me a lot. Every time I make a big play I point up to the sky. Whenever I walk out on that field, I point to him. He keeps my head straight.”
Rawls, 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, has helped lead a defense that has allowed just 13.1 points per game to go with 36.5 sacks and 15 interceptions.