QUITMAN, GA (WALB) - No one would've blamed Brooks County football star Malkom Parrish and the rest of his Trojan teammates for seeming a little uninterested in football this year.
Three Brooks County players, Jicarre Watkins, Shawn Waters, and Johnnie Parker, were killed in a July car crash. Another, Devron Whitfield, was seriously injured.
Suddenly, football was much less important.
"I think about them every day," Parrish says. "I used to talk to Shawn before every game, and Jicarre used to get me real fired up before a game."
For Parrish, the tragedy meant changing his outlook on the game.
He wanted to have more fun on the field, and not take the game for granted.
"I used to be a little uptight, be more 'I gotta do this. I gotta do that,'" Parrish says. "I'm more loose. If I make a mistake, I'm going to much more easily let that go now."
Not only has the game become more enjoyable for the Georgia Bulldog commit, his play has improved.
In Friday's win over Thomasville, Parrish lost a fumble near the goal line as he attempted to score.
But the senior bounced back, throwing the winning touchdown in the final minutes to lead the Trojans past an upset-minded Bulldog squad.
"I think Friday he wanted to be on the field and we got him right back out there, and he started doing some great things," says Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman. "That's what we need him to do. He has to just play and just have a great time and stick to his keys."
The win pushed the Trojans to 4-1, unbeaten in region play, and kept them in the top ten in Class AA.
Now Parrish and the Trojans hope to honor their fallen teammates with a state title.
"As time goes past and the chemistry comes along, I think we will soon have that potential for a state championship," Parrish says.
And that would be a whole lot of fun for the newest Top Ten Teamer.