HALL OF FAME
Tigers' Tonge signs with Ky. Christian
February 22, 2012Bardstown High School
The often quoted and insightful former New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”
For most of us, the decision on which way to go is a difficult one. The choice can be life altering.
Bardstown High senior lineman Jaylin Tonge’s life came to the proverbial fork in the road when he lost his dad, Brian, four years ago.
Fortunately, Tonge chose the right path and used the death of his No. 1 supporter to motivate himself to become a better football player.
His hard work paid off when he recently signed a letter of intent to play football and to continue his education at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson.
“He could have very easily gone down the wrong path when his dad died when he was 13 years old,” said his very proud mother, Demitra Newby. “He has worked hard to overcome the adversity to get to this point.”
Tonge admitted recently that it was not always easy.
“My dad was always my biggest fan and my biggest supporter,” he said. “He was always on the sidelines during my games cheering for me. I still look over near the concession stands and see my uncles, knowing my dad is right there with them.”
The 5’8, 280-pounder was dealt another setback after suffering a high ankle injury during his junior season.
“I tried to come back too soon and I wasn’t really ready,” Tonge said. “I did a lot of lifting and running trying to get in shape for my senior season.”
“Bardstown Rehab worked with him a lot also,” Newby said. “I think in some ways he tried to do more than they wanted him to.”
Tonge was a stalwart on the offensive line for a Tiger team that finished the 2011 campaign with a 10-2 record.
“Jaylin really came into his own during his senior season,” Bardstown football coach David Clark said. “He really worked hard during the off season to get ready for this past season. I am very proud of Jaylin.”
Kentucky Christian University is an NAIA school that competes against the likes of Georgetown, Lindsey Wilson and Campbellsville. Head coach Mike Furrey played eight seasons in the NFL.
Newby says that although the school is two and a half hours away from Bardstown, she’s comfortable with her son’s choice.
“We both liked the school when we made our visit there,” she said. “Jaylin understands that he is going there not just to play football but to get an education.
“The coach and his wife look after the players and each of the players has a player’s mom who keeps an eye on them,” Newby continued. “They are trying to build Christian character both on and off the field.”
Tonge has now taken the next fork in the road as he travels the path of his life. The 17-year-old understands that more hard work lies ahead.
“They told me that I will probably be playing JV ball my freshman year,” he said. “I need to get into the weight room and do more lifting. They want me to get more muscle on me.”
Courtesy of Dennis George, The Kentucky Standard