Lexington's Gerhardt's Reflect On TJ's Legacy

  • 7/21/2017 6:06:57 PM
  • Brian Skowronski
  • Local Sports

LEXINGTON, OH- On this week's episode of The Sports Buzz, host Brian Skowronski shared a three-part documentary on former Lexington football player TJ Gerhardt and his incredible battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and a brain tumor that could have taken his life but instead inspired the program's resurgence. Gerhardt fought through hiss illness to help lead the Minutemen to their best season in history this past fall and did so with his father, Taylor, coaching the squad.

In this interview clip, Taylor reflects on the impact TJ's positive attitude had on the team over the last two season's, helping trigger an amazing turn around after the purple and gold had lost 18 consecutive games. "I know what it did to me," Taylor says, "he taught me how to be a man. My son taught me how to be a man."

"His positive attitude was infectious," Taylor adds. "He was overcoming something that he could've died from, that he could've never played sports again, that at the end of his junior season he could've probably had brain surgery. That inspiration and that story bled into the kids' hearts."

When TJ was first diagnosed with GBS just weeks before the start of his junior season, Lexington was coming off a 0-10 campaign in Taylor's first season as head coach. Though barely able to walk when he returned to the practice field, TJ was determined to play in week 1 that year and somehow accomplished that goal, as the Minutemen won their first five games en route to a 6-4 finish. 

Then just this past year, Lex overcame a slow 1-2 start to make the playoffs on the strength of a six-game winning streak. TJ helped the squad upset perennial powerhouse Clyde in week 11 at their place then stunned state-ranked Sandusky for a spot in the regional title game. His play earned him 1st Team All-Ohio honors that year but his toughness inspired the entire senior class, which TJ believes will be talked about for many years to come.

"They will be talking about our class and what we did and how we went about it and how we worked so hard," TJ says of the Lexington community moving forward. "I'm hoping all the young guys follow along suit and hopefully keep this program ahead of where everyone thinks."

Taylor will return for his fourth season running the program this fall while TJ will continue playing football at Dennison University. 

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