Clear Eyes Full Heart

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Drake Soalce is back to lead the Easthaven Correctional Panthers after taking them to a State Championship last season. Expectations are high for the Panthers. But when Coach Bud must leave the team, it begins to fall apart. Drake must try and hold his team together as well as confronting the demons from his past and family. Can he keep his team together and win another State Championship or will the Panthers crumble from within?

Zac Welch
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

" Good Morning Easthaven Football fans! Deacon Paul here, the Minister of Easthaven football and it’s that time of year again. Time for our two football teams to get back on that good ole gridiron!” Drake slowly opened his eyes as his alarm radio clock went off ” no!” he groaned pulling the covers over his head. He felt movement next to him, and the covers were removed from his head ” time to get up,” Katrina whispered. Drake opened an eye “you love this aren’t you?” he asked his black-haired brown-eyed Latina girlfriend. She smiled, ” well yeah. I get to sleep in while you have to go to school and learn something” she said with a smug smile. ” yeah until you have to go to work in a couple of hours” Drake said then went to the bathroom.

Drake showered, got dressed and slung his book bag over his shoulder, kissed Katrina on the cheek and went to exit out the door where Tundra blocked him, one of the three dogs he and Katrina had adopted when she had turned eight-teen ” what are you doing?” he asked the husky. The dog whined as he looked up at him ” Tundra, don’t throw a temper tantrum, not right now” Drake sighed as the dog began to bark and cry ” I need to go. Yes, I do. No, you don’t understand, I have to go,” Drake told Tundra who kept throwing his fit. Katrina came into view a few moments later and chuckled ” Tundra doesn’t want his daddy to leave,” she said getting on the floor next to the husky ” daddy’s mean isn’t he Tundra? Yes he is. Yes he is,” she said petting him. Drake chuckled and patted the dog on his head ” I’ll see you later. Be a good dog,” he said before stepping over the husky and heading out the door.

He drove his Mustang over to Easthaven Correctional high school where his best friend King Sawyer greeted him,” hey there he is! There he is!” King shouted as Drake got out of his car. Drake grinned ” Hey there, buddy,” he said slapping him on the back. They both walked into the school ” this is it man. One more year and then you and me are headed to the big time,” King said. Drake nodded ” to think our last high school season opener is this Friday against Southfort. Shouldn’t be too hard, those guys probably couldn’t beat a middle school team”. King smirked ” true that. Anyway, how are the dogs doing?” Drake grinned, ” growing like weeds and still acting like babies. Tundra throws a fit every time one of us goes anywhere or when he doesn’t get his way; Sierra thinks she’s the queen of the universe and flat out refuses to learn anything. She does the opposite of what she’s told. Fly is the troublemaker of the bunch. He got kicked out of Petsmart last month and got kicked out of obedience training in the first five minutes of the very first class.”

King laughed, ” they sound like a handful. I’ll have to come visit them soon”. Drake nodded, ” well, you and your mom always welcome at our place, you know that.” ” Sounds good. Anyway, I got to get to class. I’ll see ya later buddy” King said bumping fists with Drake. They went their separate ways until school was over for the day and met back up after school for practice. They dressed in their pads and headed out to the practice field with the rest of the team got swarmed by reporters begging them for interviews. The head coach of the Panthers, Coach Miller sighed ” don’t take too long” he said going on ahead only to be caught in an interview himself. Drake was talking a friendly blonde female reporter named Cindy ” So Drake, how does it feel to be just days away from the season opener?” she asked. Drake grinned ” pretty good. We’ve got a good team here. We’ve got a very dangerous defense; our offensive line is a stone wall, our Wide Outs can catch any pass thrown, our fullback is nearly impossible to bring down, and of course, King is better than ever. I hope I can lead this team to another State Title this year, end my high school career on a high note”. “Last week you guys managed to beat Easthaven High 52-20 in the annual tune-up game. How confident are you heading into the season because of that?” Drake thought ” well Easthaven is never anyone to sneeze at. That being said, I’m confident that not only will we win another state title, but we will go undefeated this season”.

" One last thing. Rumors have been buzzing about the new back up quarterback from Goldenfield; Tyler Corbin recently joined the team. Rumor has it that he might replace you as QB One this season. Are you nervous about that?” Drake clenched his jaw as he thought about one of the new members who had gone with the team to the annual football camp held in the summer. The guy had constantly got on the entire team’s nerves by acting like he was God’s gift to the team. Drake took a moment before responding, ” trust me, that’s not going to happen,” he answered. After the interviews were over the team finally got to practice. They practiced for two and a half hours before Coach Miller called an end to the practice and brought the team in ” good practice today boys. We’re functioning like a well-oiled machine. All that remains is to name a starting Quarterback. Tyler, Drake, please stand up”. Drake stood up alongside the black mohawked gray-eyed 6ft 3 Tyler Corbin who flashed him an arrogant smirk.

Coach Miller cleared his throat ” both of you are outstanding athletes and exceptional leaders. You both deserve to be the starting QB. However, there can only be one starting QB, and I’ve made my choice. Tyler Corbin,” Coach Miller started. Tyler’s arrogant smirk only grew ” I wish I had you last season, only having one Quarterback is stressful. Which is why I’m counting on you to be a reliable back-up this season” then looked at Drake Solace ” Son, you led us well last season, as Quarterback and as a team captain. I expect you to do the same this year.” Drake nodded, ” I won’t let you down sir.” ” I know you won’t. Now Panther Pride on three. 123" ” Panther Pride!” The team went back to the locker room to shower. Drake was putting on his regular clothes when Tyler approached him, ” and what do you want?” Drake asked. Tyler gave him a cold look ” you may be the starting QB now but know this; it won’t be too long before I take your job. . . And your lady”. Drake exhaled when Tyler crossed the line ” I swear to whatever you hold sacred if you interact with her in any way, I will make sure you never play football again. You will end up in the hospital for at least a year. Do you understand me?” Tyler gave him a cocky look ” Loud and clear,” he said walking away.

Drake took a moment to calm down before walking out of the locker room to see Katrina waiting for him, “hey there big boy,” she said with a smile. Drake grinned and hugged her ” hey. Did you miss me?” ” Only a little. The kids always chase away my boredom,” she said, referring to their dogs as the kids. Drake smiled and kissed her forehead, ” trust me, I know.” They were interrupted by a police officer,” Mr. Solace?” he asked. Drake felt Katrina tense ” yes sir?” he asked. ” You need to come with me, young man.” Drake frowned, ” am I in trouble?” ” No sir but the way I understand it, something has come up regarding your family. You may come as well miss-” ” Sawyer,” Katrina said. ” Right. Anyway if you two wouldn’t mind,” the police officer said. Drake and Katrina nodded as they got into the police cruiser. When they got to the police station, they were escorted to a room where they were greeted by someone who Drake was not expecting ” Lance?!” Drake asked when he saw his older brother.

Two other people flanked Lance. One in a brown suit with gray hair and balding and the other a middle-aged man with red hair ” hey bro.” ” What are you doing here, man? Shouldn’t you be in Georgia? Your season just started, didn’t it?” Lance shrugged ” funny thing. I was called here due to some family emergency.” he gestured to the man on his right ” This is Mr. Stevens. The family lawyer and I know you recognize the man on the left”. Drake nodded, and he shook hands with his parole officer, ” Mr. Howard, always good to see you,” he said. ” Same here, Mr. Solace. I watched you win the State Title last year. I look forward to watching you this year. Now have a seat while I explain why we are gathered here today”. Drake nodded as he and Katrina sat down as Mr. Stvens cleared his throat ” First off Lance, I apologize for calling you here. I know that your coach can’t be happy losing his Freshman prospect so early in the season. Rest assured you will be back in Georgia by this Saturday. Now, for the reason, you are here. In case you were unaware, you had an uncle located in West Virginia that had a massive fortune to his name. His name was Ethan O'Conner He recently passed away, and he left said fortune to the two of you. We are here to hear the will which will be read by his lawyer.”

Drake raised an eyebrow ” wait hold up. Why is this the first time I’m hearing about this uncle?” ” Because our mom and step-father hate you,” Lance said ” I met him once. Cool dude. Crazy old bugger but cool.” They were interrupted by someone entering the room. He had white hair, was wrinkled, and had a goatee and a monocle. He spoke with a mild English accent, ” Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Barret. I am the caretaker of your uncle’s affairs. Now before we begin, we are missing one more person.” Drake frowned ” and who would that be?” he asked. Before Paul spoke, he was interrupted by a refined stuck up, female voice responded: ” that would be me, my little mistake.” Drake tensed as he looked at the single person he hated more than anything in the world ” you!” he said through gritted teeth.

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