AIKEN, SC -- A local 11 year-old boy found strength in football after the tragic loss of a parent, and that new found strength turned into trophies.
11-year-old Hiszari Gantt is home on the football field, and he's this week's "High 5 4 Kids" honoree.
"Of all the games he played, he usually ends up with some kind of award from each game because he puts his all out when he plays,"Frances Gantt, Hiszari's mother said.
Some of Hiszari's top accomplishments include being named MVP for the 2018 South Carolina Amatuer Atheletic Union state championship, and playing for a national top three team this past season - the Upstate Titans in Greenville, South Carolina.
Hiszari’s parents said he averaged about 28 yards per catch this past season, with 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He was also invited to 11 All-American games across the country.
He said the game gave him hope after he lost his father to gun violence when he was 7 years old.
"When I play football, like before the games, I think about him and go hard for my mom and my family," Hiszari said.
"It was a pretty tough time for all of us, and we got through it together, and Hiszari was a strong one," Fraces said. "He said 'Don’t worry about me mom. I got your back.'"
Now his step-father, Donald Boyd, has Hiszari’s back. The two tell said they’ve found an unbreakable bond through their love of the game.
"I am proud of football because like I wasn’t that good, but then I got with him and started training, and getting better, and I want to make it to the NF," Hiszari said of his sessions with Boyd.
"I saw a young kid that was hungry - hurting and hungry at the same time" Boyd said, "and I just wanted to come to his life and motivate him you know."
"Like when I didn’t want to wake up," Hiszari said, "he would tell me 'Get up. If you don’t get up, you can’t get to the NFL."
"I just want him to work hard at everything he does," Frances said. "There’s always somebody out there that’s up grinding while you sleep trying to get better."
“I see a bright future for him on and off the field,” Boyd said, “but on the field, I think that if he keeps himself together and keeps working hard like he’s been doing, he can go pretty far.”