Benedictine senior planning domestic violence awareness football game

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Saturday is the beginning of October which is Domestic Violence Awareness month and one senior football player at Benedictine wants to help bring this cause more attention by sharing his own story.

We want to warn you - this story references domestic violence and thoughts of suicide and may be upsetting to some.

10 years ago on Halloween night 36-year old Melithia Singleton was killed by an ex-boyfriend.

Her eight-year-old son is the one that found her and thought it was a terrible Halloween prank.

“My sister pulled the cover, and there was like puddles of blood everywhere, scratch marks on her face, stab marks and I’m like, ‘dang’ so I go downstairs, I leave, still thinking it’s a prank... and I go ‘what’s wrong, like is everything alright?’ and she said, ‘well your mom, she passed away’ and I looked, I turned around and looked at my uncle and looked outside and then I just broke down in tears,” said Lamont Mitchell.

Lamont Mitchell is no longer that little boy. He’s a young man now and senior at Benedictine Military School where he is part of their championship football team.

“The only reason why I started playing football is really for her, and really to get my anger out.”

Mitchell helped identify the man responsible for his mother’s death to police.

He is currently behind bars but Mitchell said he went through some really hard years following that night.

“They would kind of make fun of me in third grade because I was saying ‘dang my mom died,’ they was like, ‘you got held back, your momma died, you got held back,’ and I was like, dang, that’s crazy so I kept crying every night. I wanted to do a whole bunch of things. I wanted to commit suicide, everything, because I didn’t like it.”

Fast forward several years, Mitchell is a student at Benedictine...a place he says helped save him.

“He has grown a lot. Really he’s matured so much, you know, as a young man. You know, when he first got here, sometimes if things didn’t go his way, he’d get really, really flustered and didn’t know how to handle it, and I have seen that change into a young man and now he knows how to handle it,” said head football coach Danny Britt.

Last season, Mitchell wore a towel that said “Rest in Peace Mom” when he would take the field but he wanted to do more.

He went to Cadets Head Coach Danny Britt and asked if they could do something in October for domestic violence awareness month.

“I said ‘of course, buddy, I’d love to. How can we help?”

The team wore purple ribbon helmet stickers, the color for domestic violence awareness, but also his mom’s favorite color.

They sold wrist bands to benefit SAFE Shelter.

“I just kept telling myself, yeah Lamont, you need to help these kids that don’t have parents, because I understand when people don’t have parents, but people don’t understand it the hard way like I understand it,” said Mitchell.

This year, Mitchell was poised for a break-out senior season but an ACL tear the first game of the year ended his high school football career.

“He had worked really, really hard. Was going to be an integral part of our team and had opportunities to play at the next level, so for him to go out like that is just heart-breaking, but I’m so proud of him still. He’s handled it. He’s coming out and supporting the team and still being a leader,” said Britt.

With everything he has gone through, Mitchell said an injury isn’t going to set him back.

He says he considers himself the 12th man out there and couldn’t imagine not being at practices and games remembering a lesson his mom taught him years ago as a kid.

“She said ‘pain is temporary, but quitting is forever.’”

Mitchell lives with his aunt and uncle and still has his dad, sister, and cousin in his life but he says he has no longer has anger toward the man who took his mother’s life.

“You’ve got to forgive and forget. I mean I forgive and forget. I don’t forget the situation, but I forgive the man who did what he did.”

Mitchell, in addition to being a student, starting a t-shirt business, and holding a job, is in the midst of helping to plan this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Game and he says he hopes to see the stands filled with people wearing purple for his mom.

Lamont says he does plan to rehab his injury and play college football next year.

Benedictine’s second domestic violence awareness game is set for Thursday, Oct. 6 against Burke County.

Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium.