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FOOTBALL FEATURE

Refusing to let go of a dream

Family came first
By: Jim Linsdau/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Rocklin’s Glen Peacock family is understandably proud that their youngest is now playing football on a scholarship at Midland University in Fremont, Neb., but the road it took to get there was the real story. Kyle Peacock was a good athlete pursuing his love of football when and wherever the opportunity presented itself. He started with the Jr. Thunder, teamed up with his brother at Wheatland High School and eventually both wore the pads for Yuba College. His brother Justin Peacock developed into a quarterback and Kyle became his target. “Every time you turn around there was football at the house, it seemed like all the time ever since they were little,” said the boys’ mother, Melissa Peacock. “You (couldn’t) get rid it.” Their father, Glenn Peacock, said the two attended Wheatland High to avoid being separated. When Whitney High opened in their district, the school offered only freshmen and sophomore classes. That worked for Kyle Peacock, but Justin Peacock was a junior and could not attend so they both went to Wheatland. The football careers of both were coming along nicely until Glen Peacock became ill. After playing at Yuba College, they both eschewed scholarships to four-year schools to stay near home. “I took on cancer,” said Glenn Peacock of his son’s decisions, “and they wanted to stay home to take care of mom.” Justin Peacock began pursuing a career in coaching but Kyle Peacock continued to believe in his dream of playing more football. He said he continued his studies and kept himself in good physical shape just in case that opportunity again came knocking. “What I did was kept my head in the books and kept working out and getting big,” said Kyle Peacock speaking over the telephone from Fremont. “I wouldn’t be here without my parents and God. My mom is my hero,” he added. As if by fate, a teammate of Kyle Peacock’s at Yuba College was already on scholarship playing football for the Midland Warriors. When he saw the team lacked a solid wide receiver he told his coaches about Kyle. When Kyle Peacock heard Midland was interested in him he had mixed feelings about moving that far away. His parents encouraged him to pursue his dream. Midland University football head coach Josh Gehring said the club was having problems at wide receiver and on the recommendation of his defensive coordinator took a look at Kyle Peacock’s film. Gehring said he liked what he saw, especially after he got to know Kyle Peacock in person. “What set him apart was his fire and passion to play football,” Gehring said. (He has) great character. I’m excited about him.”He’s not shy; (he) jumped in right away.” Having been a team captain most of his career, Kyle Peacock quickly fell into a leadership role. With his father doing better, his reservations about playing football in Nebraska soon faded. Not only did Kyle Peacock impress his coaches and teammates, but he also impressed a young lady he predicted would one day be his wife. Although he didn’t think he was going to have that kind of impact on Midland Warriors football, all that has since changed. Glenn Peacock said he got a telephone call from Midland University offering Kyle a scholarship covering 75 percent of his expenses. The Peacocks felt the family could handle that. But after one day of practice, Glenn Peacock got another call telling him the school was increasing the offer. “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse,” Glenn Peacock said was what the coach told him – and they did. Glenn Peacock stressed that young athletes who suffer setbacks should continue pursuing their dreams in spite of the disappointments. Kyle Peacock’s story may not be the norm but neither was his passion to persevere. “There’s always a school that could use you,” Kyle Peacock said, “Talk to as many people as you can. If you don’t put any effort into it you’re not going to get picked up.” Early in his life, Kyle Peacock was influenced by the story of Daniel Ruettiger, who was the inspiration for the movie “Rudy.” Ruettiger was a 5-foot 6-inch, 165 pound walk-on at Notre Dame University. Although dyslexic, Ruettiger persevered to live out his dream. Glenn Peacock said he knows of too many young athletes who have given up on their dreams. He said he hoped his son’s story would perhaps be an inspiration to them and others. “Nobody can steal your dream; you have to give it (away),” Glenn Peacock said. “Don’t give up.”