HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Hilton Head High School Head Coach B.J. Payne has been in some tough games, against great opponents, but there is a good chance that in his seven years with the Seahawks, the game this past Friday night was his most difficult to stay focused. His Seahawks faced Savannah High at Hilton Head. He lost his mom Wednesday to a long illness, and the funeral was Friday morning.
Payne seemed very confident in his decision to coach in the game. "If you knew my family, if you knew my mom, it was a pretty easy decision, my mom wouldn't want me to be anywhere else. Her whole life with her boys was raised around the game of football."
Payne said the school did a great job of remembering his mom during the game. While the players are in school to get their education from books, he also thought this was a teachable moment, recalling one player who was arguing with his mom last week, about what time they were supposed to be at practice.
Payne went on to say, "I was able to tell him, 'hey, don't disrespect your mom, you know what I'm going through with my mom and her battling in the hospital, and I would give anything to go back to where you are right now and to have a long time with her', and then at the memorial service you know that kid came up and gave me a hug, and I said remember what we just talked about? You never know when it's done."
Payne said his mom and dad never missed a game that he played, or coached in. That is part of the reason why he is at peace with his decision to coach.
"For years I said I was a momma's boy, I have no doubt how much my mother loved me and she had no doubt how much I loved her, and you know a lot of that was brought together by the game of football, she was by far my biggest fan, she would have wanted it no other way."
Hilton Head is home to Saint James Friday Night.