Kadarius Burdette will be playing in the Georgia State Championship football game this weekend. His brother died after a drag racing accident last week. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 8, 2011)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011
WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- The Burke County Bears will take their 13-1 record to the Georgia Dome Saturday to do something they've never done before: win a state championship.
Winning would make school history, but for defensive back Kadarius Burdette, he's just thankful to still be playing football.
"[Football] gives me something to look forward to in the afternoons other than just knowing that my brother passed, and I just have to go home and sit on that," Kadarius said. "I can come out here on the field with the support of my friends."
He drew a big grin when he was talking about the support of his friends, but even with that ear-to-ear smile, he's practicing with a heavy heart.
He buried his brother Keshon Burdette Wednesday who died November 27 watching a street race. The cars crashed and took Keshon's life. Kadarius didn't have to bury his brother alone, though; he had the support of his teammates.
"The whole senior class, they came and helped out," he explained. "They were the pall-bearers, and the flowers, they did the flowers. The team contributed a lot to what's been going on, and they kind of comfort us."
Comfort has been important to Kadarius, a senior, who returned to school just two days after the accident that killed his brother.
"That Tuesday when I came back to school, everybody was telling me to pick my head up, everything was going to be okay, and just let it fall into God's hands," he said. "It was hard because I had a lot on my mind, but with the support of the coaching staff and the team, I made it through it."
Now, Kadarius and the Bears are looking to get through one more game together to call themselves Georgia's AAA state champions.
"I feel like I know we're playing for a state championship, and that'll be big, but I also want to play for my brother," said Kadarius, pausing for a moment. "Dedicate the game to him," he finished.
He'll be playing through pain, but a win this Saturday in the Georgia Dome can help heal that pain, at least a little bit.
"Just win the game. We win the game, it's for him," he said. "He's going to be watching all of us."