Preps Talk

Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

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Coming Dec. 23 to CSN: 'Rocky Clark, The Legacy Lives On'

It was one play that changed Rocky Clark's life forever. One play that not only affected lives of those close to Clark, but high school athletes to come as well. Tune into Comcast SportsNet on Dec. 23 for the premiere of "Rocky Clark: The Legacy Lives On".

Back in September of 2011, a promising 16-year old high school running back had no idea his life would change forever as he ran onto the field. When Rocky Clark began that matchup against Oak Forest High School, he didn't know he was just one tackle away from two broken vertebrae in his neck and a devastating spinal cord injury that would change his life forever.

"I never saw how this happened," Rocky's coach Greg Walder said about the injury. "I can see the play in my head. It is a normal tackle. There were ten hits in that game that were more vicious than that hit. I don't know how it happened."

But it did happen. And yet it wasn't enough to take away Rocky's faith and determination. With his mother Annette by his side, Rocky went on to graduate from Eisenhower High School. He even attended junior college at South Suburban College and helped coach his old high school football team, all while receiving constant medical attention.

In 2010, his story became a national headline after his school's 5 million insurance policy reached its cap.

"I got the letter. It was a two-sentence letter. It said Rocky's insurance was gone," Annette explained. "I let things upset me and he wouldn't. I said the nurse care is gone now. When he sees me upset, he would tell me 'it's going to be alright', but he thought he would be taken care of for the rest of his life."

Just 16 months later, Rocky passed away at the age of 27.

"(Rocky) said, 'Mama... I love you' and I said 'I love you too,'" Annette recalls of her son's final days. "I talked to the lord and I had asked him many times before to let me have him because he would have been gone and he would give him right back to me, but this time was for Rocky to go ahead on and I said to the lord 'thy will be done.'

My son had to get hurt and die to try to make a point. That makes me angry every time I think about it. My children were supposed to bury me."

Although his time on Earth was lost far too soon, Rocky's story and the determination he showed even in the hardest of times left a stronger impact in just his 27 years than many do in a lifetime.

"He was a guy you could go up to and talk to," Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett recalled. "He would tell you the whole incident, about his life. He's one of those guys that just moved me when I spoke to him."

Now you can remember and celebrate Rocky's life on Comcast SportsNet with special airings on Dec. 23 at 7:00 p.m., Dec. 25 at 9:30 p.m., Dec. 31 at 9:00 p.m., and Jan. 5 and 7 at 7:00 p.m.

99 Days to Kickoff: Prospect

99 Days to Kickoff: Prospect

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Prospect Knights

Head coach: Dan DeBoeuf

Assistant coaches: Brock Collins (DC), Tim Beisher (STC), Matt Weber (WR), Jeff Collier (DB), Dan Keller (LB), Jim Argentine (DL), Dan Yeoman (DB), Michael Watson (RB), Tom Whalen, Dominic Canon and Mike Naboltny

How they fared in 2018: 5-5 (2-3 Mid Suburban East). Prospect made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Glenbard East in opening round action. 

2019 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 30  @ St Viator
Sept. 6 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 13 vs Niles West
Sept. 20 @ Highland Park
Sept. 27 @ Elk Grove
Oct. 4 @ Hersey
Oct. 11 vs Rolling Meadows
Oct. 18 vs Hersey
Oct. 25  @ Wheeling

Biggest storyline: Can the Knights challenge for the Mid-Suburban East conference title in 2019?

Names to watch this season: OL/DL Sebastian Swistak (Sr.), WR Matt Meyer (Sr.) and RB/DB Luke Zardzin (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Knights bring back a ton of experience back this fall; however, a few key seniors will graduate this spring. That list includes QB Jimmy Martin and RB Michael Shafis.

EDGY's Early Take: In his first year as Prospect head coach, Dan DeBoeuf was able to make the IHSA state playoffs-- the first postseason berth for the school since 2012. What will the Knights do for an encore? More postseason success is expected in 2019. With 15 returning starters back in the fold, I'm looking for the Knights to challenge for a state playoff spot and a conference title. 

99 Days to Kickoff: Prospect

99 Days to Kickoff: Prospect

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Prospect Knights

Head coach: Dan DeBoeuf

Assistant coaches: Brock Collins (DC), Tim Beisher (STC), Matt Weber (WR), Jeff Collier (DB), Dan Keller (LB), Jim Argentine (DL), Dan Yeoman (DB), Michael Watson (RB), Tom Whalen, Dominic Canon and Mike Naboltny

How they fared in 2018: 5-5 (2-3 Mid Suburban East). Prospect made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Glenbard East in opening round action. 

2019 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 30  @ St Viator
Sept. 6 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 13 vs Niles West
Sept. 20 @ Highland Park
Sept. 27 @ Elk Grove
Oct. 4 @ Hersey
Oct. 11 vs Rolling Meadows
Oct. 18 vs Hersey
Oct. 25  @ Wheeling

[MORE: 100 Days to Kickoff: Andrew]

Biggest storyline: Can the Knights challenge for the Mid-Suburban East conference title in 2019?

Names to watch this season: OL/DL Sebastian Swistak (Sr.), WR Matt Meyer (Sr.) and RB/DB Luke Zardzin (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Knights bring back a ton of experience back this fall; however, a few key seniors will graduate this spring. That list includes QB Jimmy Martin and RB Michael Shafis.

EDGY's Early Take: In his first year as Prospect head coach, Dan DeBoeuf was able to make the IHSA state playoffs-- the first postseason berth for the school since 2012. What will the Knights do for an encore? More postseason success is expected in 2019. With 15 returning starters back in the fold, I'm looking for the Knights to challenge for a state playoff spot and a conference title.