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Serrano football player reflects on loss of parents at Super Bowl
Serrano High School football player DeAndre Williams is mourning the loss of his parents who were killed in a car crash outside of New Orleans after attending the Super Bowl.
“They were great people,” Williams said by phone Tuesday of his parents.
Alice and Bryan Young were in New Orleans for the Super Bowl as guests of San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. Walker, who grew up in Pomona, is Williams’ cousin. Williams said he was invited but stayed home to focus on school and track.
The Youngs were stopped on the right shoulder of Interstate 10 in St. Charles Parish when Nechole Thomas, 26, of Houston, hit them as she veered off the highway around 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.
Thomas was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and reckless operation of a vehicle.
Williams said his mom was an “amazing” person who was willing to help anyone at a moment’s notice. He said he’ll remember her supporting him after football games and practices whether it was above 100 degrees or much, much colder as the season wore on.
“Even though my mom was way older than me, she was like one of my best friends,” Williams said.
Bryan is Williams’ stepfather. The Youngs were married in 2004. Williams said the family quickly fell in love with Bryan as their new dad.
“When Bryan came into my life he made everything better,” Williams said. “He took me under his wing.
“He wasn’t like that stepdad that doesn’t care about kids. He was just like a real dad. He loved us.”
Williams, a senior receiver and defensive back, was a key member of the Serrano football team on the way to the CIF- Southern Section Eastern Division Championship game in November. Williams finished the season with 37 receptions for 730 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had six interceptions as a defensive back.
By Tuesday afternoon, news had started to ripple across the High Desert football community.
“It’s a sobering tragedy around here,” Serrano football coach Ray Maholchic said. “Everyone’s just a little numb.”
Serrano wide receivers coach T.J. Gretzner said he’ll remember how caring the couple were to everyone.
“(They were) amazing,” Gretzner said. “Every time I had conversations with them they were just amazing to be honest. Very humble, very loving people.”
Former Silverado football coach Carl Posey coached Williams before he transferred from Silverado in 2012. Posey said Williams is still well liked at Silverado and their thoughts are with him.
“I know the coaching community’s been talking about it,” he said. “Anything anyone can do for DeAndre and his family would be great.”
Matthew Peters can be reached at email@example.com or(760) 955-5365.
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