SPORTS

Isaac Samuel helps Centreville win state title while family dealt with homelessness

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CENTREVILLE, Va. (WJLA) - Isaac Samuel's introduction to football came a little later than most - he didn't start playing until his sophomore year of high school.

It was the influence of the game, and his head coach, that changed his life.

Several months ago, Isaac and his family were forced to move into a Northern Virginia shelter. It was the fourth time the Centreville High School senior found himself homeless.

"I didn't really try focusing on the bad," Samuel said. "I didn't really think of being homeless as that bad."

Once he got into football, though, he found a positive influence in coach Chris Haddock.

"It was mainly coach, because he would come out every day asking, 'You going to play?'" he said. "Football helped me escape. (It) helps me just block out all the bad things.

"When I'm on the field, I'm just in my own little world out there."

In the midst of his economic hardship, friends and Centreville alumni helped raise more than $20,000 for Isaac's family. While they did that, the Centreville Wildcats took home a Virginia Group 61 state championship.

According to Haddock, Isaac is every bit deserving of his good fortune, both on and off the field.

"It's why you get in this business," he said. "Winning football championship games is awesome, but working with kids like him is what it's all about."

With high school almost over, though, the future is bright for Isaac. He's currently choosing between several Division II and III colleges to play for next season.

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