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High School QB Alex Brown Is The Baddest Dude In The State Of New Jersey

It was a performance for the ages in the most emotional moment imaginable.

A day after Red Bank Catholic quarterback Alex Brown lost his mom Michelle after her 15-year battle with breast cancer, he came through with an unforgettable tribute for his biggest fan Friday night at Count Basie Field.

“There was never a doubt in my mind I was playing,” Brown said. “That’s how she wanted it. I talked to my dad and I said, ‘I want to play for mom and make a special memory,’ and that's what happened.”

It certainly did. Brown generated eight touchdowns - throwing six TD passes and running for two more scores - in a 58-34 victory over Morris Catholic in an NJSIAA Non-Public B playoff game in Red Bank.  

Brown's father, Ray, said, "I’m not super religious but I am spiritual. And I truly believe this whole game was scripted before it happened.”

So many levels to this story. Number one- cancer sucks. Obviously, Alex, a Bucknell commit,  played a terrific game in conditions no one else should ever have to. Then factor in the game was played on Alex's 18th Birthday.  I can't imagine having to deal with that weight on my shoulders, and I definitely can't imagine playing with that weight at 18 years old. I used to check my travel bag 11 times before a road game because I was afraid I forgot my cleats or helmet in high school. Guys I played with freshman year of college would go nuclear if they didn't have a pair of headphones. No one at 18 can fully process their emotions. Alex Brown somehow did. 

When commenting on the game Brown said , 

“If she saw a game like that and I could talk to her now, I know that I made her as proud as possible and she would be screaming her head off hugging me, kissing me, telling me how much she loves me and how proud she was of me  - she would get very teary-eyed.”

There's another portion of the story that Alex's brother attends Rumson Fair Haven, and the last game his mother Michelle would see in person was the one in which her two sons faced off. 

Three weeks earlier, the entire family, including Michelle and son Markus, a sophomore who plays for Rumson-Fair Haven, experienced an incredible night at Borden Stadium, when nearly 6,000 fans came to see No. 2 Red Bank Catholic upend No. 1 Rumson, 21-14.

After the game, they gathered on the field for a photo on what would be the last night Michelle saw her son’s play football in person.

The outpouring on social media has been flowing in for Alex Brown and his family, including messages from Tom Brady.  No one can ever fully describe just how terrible this event was for this young man, and I don't think anyone will ever be able to fully describe how impressive his performance was to honor his mother. What I can say is stuff like this will always be the reason sports is the greatest barometer of character on the planet. Sports can make you tougher, sports can make you stronger, and in the worst of times sports can be an escape. For a hour or two hours it can distract you from everything else in the world and give you an avenue to compete, and not think about anything else. 

People have always said Mike Piazza's home run on 9/21/01 (the first event in NYC after 9/11) was so powerful because it let the world cheer even for two minutes when it seemed like they would never cheer again. 

I'd like to think the Brown family got that same enjoyment Friday in that beautiful tribute to Michelle. In a week where things were at their worst, they got a few hours to enjoy their son, brother, friend, classmate, cousin etc playing football - something his mother loved to watch him do. In those few hours - they got to be happy, they got to be distracted. Sports made that happen. 

As always , thanks to Alex for reminding us "Some things are bigger than sports." No one deserves a state title more than you.