Family and football

La'Darius Connor, a junior at Harrison County High School, talks with classmates during his early lifespan development class. "I have a lot of aquaintances (and) very few friends," he says.

La’Darius Connor hopes to be playing football on a college field in a couple of years. Eventually, he wants to play football professionally, but if that doesn't happen, his goal is to become a speech therapist. 

Living with his single mother, Carla Connor, and his little brother, Jayden, La’Darius says he wants to be able to provide for his family in the future.

“The main reason I want to be so successful in sports is because my mom works hard ... and I just want to be able to provide in the future, so she can relax more. Because I feel like she takes on a lot,” La’Darius says. 

La’Darius is a junior at Harrison County High School and a member of the football team. He also works at Ken’s Fresh Foods in Cynthiana on the weekends, where his mom also works part-time as a second job. David Connor, La’Darius’ cousin, is the store manager. 

“We’re just a proud group of individuals,” David says. “We don't accept failure. Quitting is not an option.” 

Carla says that La’Darius doesn’t shy away from hard work. He often steps up when his mother is too tired or needs help around the house.

“He helps to make sure his brother finishes his homework and is fed on nights that I work,” Carla says. “He has been working weekends at his first job and has maintained that along with sports and good grades. To say that I'm proud is an understatement.”

La’Darius says that he’s “stepped up and basically just had to mature” through the absence of his father and his mom's demanding work schedule.

“I’ve just had to grow up faster than the average child or average person should,” he says.  

Every day after school, La’Darius practices for at least two and half hours with the football team. He says he takes the sport very seriously. “I’m really competitive."

La’Darius is considered a leader on the team. For him, it's more than a game. It's his future.

“He is first class ... he is going to be a college football player,” Harrison County coach Ray Graham says.

In a game against Fleming County High School, La'Darius was injured and left in an ambulance. His mother says the next morning they are waiting for news on his condition from the doctor, but they are hopeful La'Darius will be able to play next season. 

La'Darius looks over his homeowork with teacher Angela Cracraft during a class. "I try to do good in school. I've never really been in trouble at school," La'Darius says.
La"Darius works on his self-portrait during his art class. He says he is not particularly proud of this piece and that he is more confident drawing cartoons.
La'Darius kneels with his teammates after a two and a half hour football practice following a full day of school. "I hate to lose," La'Darius says. "I get down on myself when I do bad. Even if others don't think I did bad, I still think I did bad. If I don't win, I think I did bad."
Jayden Connor, 7, plays games on a phone as his mother, Carla Connor, tells him to get ready to leave the house for his brother, La'Darius' (middle), football practice. Carla says that she cooks for her sons and takes La'Darius to practice on the nights she isn't working.
La'Darius rides the bus with his teammates to their game against Fleming County. "I like to compete. I'm really competitive," La'Darius says.
La'Darius blocks a member of the opposing team, the Fleming County Panthers, in an away game. La'Darius' team lost the game, 62 to 21.
La'Darius grimaces in pain after being injured in a game against Fleming County. He was taken from the field and didn't get to finish the game.
Carla calls an ambulance for her son, La'Darius, after his ankle was injured during a game. Later, Carla said La'Darius will not be able to play for the rest of the season, but they were hopeful he would return for his senior year.
Coaches help paramedics wheel La'Darius off the sidelines and to an ambulance during the last quarter of the game. La'Darius was mostly quiet and did not cry following his injury. "I'm truly blessed to call him my son," Carla says.