MUSKEGON, MICH. - Just days ago Muskegon's star quarterback La'Darius Jefferson lead his team to a state championship, and as his team celebrated, Jefferson took a few moments to encourage players on the loosing team.
The Big Reds had just defeated Farmington Hills Harrison 28-10 in the Division 3 state championship game.
"I just told them just keep your head high, respect your coaches, and love each other up," said Jefferson. "Stick around with each other because the city I come from there's a lot of gun violence, gang violence, lot of bad stuff going on in the city but it's an amazing and beautiful place."
Jefferson shared with opponents what he learned from his own loss. In the 2016 state championship game, and earlier in the year when close friend J'Mari Harris was murdered. "I lost him to gun violence," said Jefferson. "And I know how it feels to loose somebody."
The murder of Harris has Jefferson on a mission to appreciate every moment, play football with passion, and find ways to encourage others.
"I feel like it's God's calling and I wish I could just help anybody out in anyway," said Jefferson.
Muskegon High School Principal Arthur Garner says Jefferson is a leader in the school and a good kid who's part of the national honors society.
Garner has seen Jefferson encourage opponents after other games leading up to the final game at Ford Field. "No one asks him to do that, it was just something that's who he is as a student and wanting to share his story," said Garner.
Wednesday the State Champs Sports Network visited Muskegon High to present Jefferson with the 2017 Mr. Football trophy.
Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield says Jefferson has made a positive impact on his community, using loss as the motivation to find success.
"His biggest message is guys I've been there, I know what it feels like," said Fairfield. "If it's football, or another part of your life, if you just stick to the grind, do the right things, you will be a champion in life and that's his message."
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