The Evangel football team's run a state championship came up a little short last week against Catholic, but junior wide receiver Tanner Ash had a lot to do with the Eagles shocking everyone in 1-5A this season after being picked to finish 5th in the district.
From as early as he can remember Tanner has played several different sports but as time ticked and the years passed.
"There came a time in my life where I had to pick what sport I was going to play in high school because I knew I was going to have to stick to one. I told them that I was going to play football, this is what I want to do," said Tanner.
The decision was a good one. Tanner, has blossomed into one of the best wide receivers in the region.
But, the Benton native, says playing for Evangel wasn't always something he wanted.
"I started crying when they told me I was going to Evangel because I was at Benton because I didn’t want to leave my friends."
Cherie Ash, Tanner’s mother, said, "It was hard. I mean it was hard. I literally had to walk out of the room because he was pitching a fit."
Tanner added, "Just the move over there just showed me you know, they were looking out for me, they were wanting the best for me. Now I'm real happy."
Tanner says the move also helped nurture his spirituality, something he'd need more this year than ever before.
"A couple months back my grandfather got cancer and the doctors told him, he wasn't going to have that big of a chance. So, everything started to break down then."
The man who Tanner calls his inspiration was slipping away and but then something divine, he says, happened. The pancreatic cancer, went away.
"Dad called and he said that when they got on the elevator, there was one big group hug with the whole family you know. Everybody just started tears of joy came out of my grandpa's and so it was a great day."
Cherie, said, "We were all scared and Tanner was really scared. But, now to see that he's come out on the good side of it, it's been a blessing, it's been a blessing."
Now his grandfather and the rest of his family can look forward to Tanner's senior season next year.
The colleges will be watching and Tanner will be working, so one day those close to him don’t have to.
"I want to work so hard and let it all pay off so my parents won't have to work anymore. That's always been a dream of mine for me to be able to say that my parents to have to work anymore because if they need something, I got them."
As he accepted the Athlete of the Week of trophy Tanner said, "Thank you so much I want to thank my family and my coaches most off. They drive me to be the best every day. I couldn't be more thankful for them."
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