4A high school football: Mountain Crest fullback Gaje Ferguson plays in memory of 2 younger brothers
"It was really tough," the coach said. "You just try to be as supportive as you can. I think the kids and the community really rallied around him, and they want him to do well."
Wootton said Ferguson is a gifted athlete who is a key contributor to the Mustangs' success this season.
"He's just a distruptive force defensively," said Wootton. "He's very athletic, very physical and very fast. He's one of our best kids on the field. He makes a ton of plays; he's very determined and he has great focus."
Losing his brothers changed the way Ferguson viewed the games they loved to play together. Just summoning their memory makes him a better person and player, he says.
"I definitely have more energy, especially in big games when I think about them," he said. "I think about them being here and what they would want me to do if they were on the sidelines watching with the rest of my family. What would make them proud as younger brothers?"
He feels them most when he's just laughing and having a good time with the brotherhood created by the team.
"Sometimes when I'm out here having a good time, a couple of times at practice, I can literally feel them around me," he said. "It's very heartwarming, brings tears to my eyes. I can look up and thank God for letting them still be a part of my life."
But sometimes when he's made a mistake or having a hard time, he asks them for a little assistance.
"It helps me get my focus right," Ferguson said. "Even if I'm not the best player out there, I have them standing behind me, and I can make the play that is needed. I just want to be someone that if they were here, they could look up to."