Tomball will be missing a member of the football program this season after a tragic incident that occurred this summer.
The Tomball community is still mourning after an escaped prisoner killed Mark Collins, 66, and his four grandsons – Waylon Collins, 18, Carson Collins, 16, Hudson Collins, 11, and Bryson Collins, 11.
Carson was a sophomore at Tomball last year and played football. Waylon was involved in the baseball program, had just graduated and was an umpire for Tomball Little League.
Everyone in the program is wearing “Collins Strong” bracelets, Handal said. Special decals will also be featured on the back of helmets this season to honor the family.
Before the first game against Stratford, Handal said they plan to present the family with Carson’s jersey in a frame.
Handal said Carson’s number will not be retired. Instead, he said they’re going to have a Carson Collins legacy where coaches will pick one athlete on the team that has all the characteristics that Carson modeled.
Junior Aidan Burnham is going to wear No. 5 this year, Handal said.
“Every year we’ll have No. 5, so when the Collins come to our games, there’s a No. 5 out there,” Handal said. “I think that’s the best way to honor him.”
Handal said it puts things in perspective.
“It fits right into our philosophy about getting better every day,” Handal said. “It’s all about today. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed, and we learned that the hard way, unfortunately, this summer with the losses of those guys. That’s how they lived their lives, and that’s how we’re going to live ours.
“It’s an unfortunate thing, but its brought us closer, and it makes us appreciate things a lot more that we get to do this. … It’s all about relationships and the memories you make. That’s a big part of this year is that together aspect, that family aspect.”