As the regular season draws to an end in the ever-fascinating Region 6-AAAAAA, one rivalry—an old-time cross-town showdown—beacons for the fanatical supporters of Allatoona and Harrison, as well as those who are just looking for an electric, fast-paced football game. But despite their hatred for each other, they begin a new tradition. Tonight (10/11/19), the Allatoona and Harrison communities are united in remembrance of a special young man who touched many hearts, and continues to influence more still, despite his tragic passing.
Turner Cockrell attended and played for Allatoona, but he was actually in the Harrison youth football teams growing up, according to Harrison Athletic Director Josh Hawk. Like most of the students in this area, he was familiar to players and fans of both schools. To quote Mr. Hawk: “There are already so many factors that connect our two schools, and Turner’s Heroes involvement in this rivalry game just reinforces the strength and unity we collectively share.”
Echoing this sentiment was Turner’s close friend and teammate at Vanderbilt, Cody Markel. “I just want to thank all of the students at Allatoona for all of their hard work in setting up this event. I know that this event will mean a lot to the greater community, as Turner has such a large part of that community and represented it so well,” said Markel. Continuing on that theme, he says, ”I am unbelievably grateful for all who have worked to set this event up, and it is something that is truly special to me, Turner’s Heroes, and I believe Turner as well.”
I got the chance to talk to Turner’s mother, Noelle Cockrell, briefly over email, where I asked if she had a quote I could use in my story. When asked about the game, she told me, “The Cockrell family is very proud of the entire Allatoona and Harrison communities for taking part in this fundraiser. We are touched that Turner is so fondly remembered by the people of Acworth and that critical research is taking place to help treat pediatric cancer because of Turner’s Heroes.”
Anyone can help out the foundation. Anyone who was unable to attend the game who wishes to donate can visit TurnersHeroes.org. The funds raised at the game, as well as those online, will be funneled into their Discovery Grants. These Discovery Grants allow “skilled researchers to pursue exciting discoveries in basic and clinical science.”
Thanks to Mrs. Noelle Cockrell, Mr. Cody Markel, and Mr. Josh Hawk for their contributions to this article, and more importantly thanks to Turner’s Heroes for everything they have done, are doing, and will undoubtably continue to do for the future of cancer research.