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High school football: Bombers' Beau Butler knows his legendary grandfather, Jim Darnell, is watching

Butler played his first season of youth football as a fifth-grader. He joined the junior-high team in sixth grade, where he got to play his first game in the stadium named for his grandfather — on month after Darnell died.
by Scott Wright Modified: November 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm •  Published: November 13, 2013

“I would get to hear all kinds of stories from his friends,” Beau said with a laugh. “We'd go over there to John Conrad, eat a hamburger. He'd talk and play cards with his friends, and I'd hear all about him.

“I would hear stories about the practices he had and the stuff he made his players do. People still tell me about that stuff, and it's all great to hear.”

Though Darnell didn't encourage Little League football, he still wanted his grandson to play the game. He talked about the game with young Beau. But he never pushed it on him at an early age.

“We always had that football connection,” Beau said. “The first time I ran onto that field suiting up for a varsity game, starting as a junior, knowing what I was playing for — not only myself but for him and the community, it was a great experience. The energy, the emotion, it was almost uncontrollable.”

Beau's athletic ability and strong academics have opened doors at some prestigious schools. He's hoping to play football and baseball at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

But he has one more game remaining at Jim Darnell Stadium, and he hopes a few more in a Bomber uniform.

“Watching over me, I know he's proud,” Beau said. “To see me out there playing, it would've meant a lot to him. I know it means a lot to me.”

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