JOHN GRANATO

I miss Blain Padgett

Blain Padgett was taken far too young. Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Last Friday former Rice football player Stuart Mouchantaf was arrested and charged with delivering a controlled substance which led to the death of Blain Padgett. They played on the defensive line together in 2015 when Blain was a freshman. It’s a second degree felony. Mouchantaf faces anywhere from two to twenty years in prison.

The Padgetts face every day without their son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin.

The rest of us do too.

In case you don’t know, Mouchantaf allegedly sold Blain what Blain thought was hydrocodone. One pill wasn’t. It was the equivalent of an elephant tranquilizer. Blain took it and died in his sleep hours later.

Your initial reaction may be that he shouldn’t have taken any illegal drug and you would be right. But this wasn’t for party purposes. It was for pain. He was recovering from surgery.

He was finally cleared to resume full football activity. He was excited to work out the next morning. He talked to his mom and dad for about an hour and a half that night and went to bed.

I know all this because I was with Blain before he talked to his parents. He and my son JT lived together before JT transferred from Rice. My wife and I stopped by their house. We sat outside and talked about football, his new coach, his health, his workout, his parents.

He was going to be an NFL prospect. He was that good.

That that one mistake could end all that so quickly is incomprehensible. But it did. And it happens all too often in this country.

The numbers are staggering but that’s all they are until it’s someone you know and love that dies. Then it’s real.

But while thousands are dying every year in this country, every day millions worldwide take something they shouldn’t and still wake up the next morning. It’s literally Russian Roulette. That night the bullet was in Blain’s chamber.

He was by no means a druggie. He loved his beer and country music. He was a giant teddy bear. He loved to laugh.

One time he walked right past JT’s truck into his own and still backed right into JT’s. I never let him forget it.

He would listen to my radio show and tell me how dumb I was for something I said. I’d ask him how someone so dumb could get into Rice.

He was terrible at golf but great fun to play with. We would laugh at three or four of his shots a round. He’d laugh along with us.

Unfortunately most of you reading this didn’t know Blain. For you it’s probably just another story.

For the Padgetts it’s a nightmare they can’t wake up from.

There probably weren’t a handful of days that went by that Blain didn’t talk to his mom, dad or sisters.

Blain’s dad Mical played linebacker at Texas. Blain was bigger and played defensive end but they were almost the same guy. They talked football like mathematicians talk formulas.

There was no less love for his mom and sisters.

Two years ago Rice had practice on Thanksgiving morning so instead of driving all the way to Sour Lake, Blain and a couple other players had Thanksgiving dinner at our house.

Before we ate my wife made all of us write down what we were thankful for then we guessed who wrote what. We do it every year. JT never takes it seriously so we knew which one was his. Blain’s was easy too.

All it said was “mom dad my sisters.”

For some reason my wife saved it.  

JT spoke at Blain’s funeral and at the end gave the Padgetts that piece of paper. It’s proof of what they meant to him. But they didn’t need that proof. They knew.

I only knew Blain for about three years but I can’t stop thinking about him.

I don’t want to stop though and I’m sure I’m not alone.

He was only 21 but Blain was loved by thousands of people. I have never seen a bigger funeral than his and I’m old. I’ve seen a lot of funerals. All of Sour Lake was there and then some. They played his favorite country songs and told stories that made you laugh and cry.

Everyone there cried that day. I still want to.

If this article does nothing other than keep Blain alive in someone’s mind one more day then it was a success.

I miss Blain.

If you knew him you do too.

 

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas punishes Rice with a blowout and Houston can't find its mojo. Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:

Washington State 31, Houston 24

In similar fashion to last week, Houston struck early, but failed to secure the win in the second half. Houston's wonder kid quarterback, D'Eriq King has been a shell of himself since Dana Holgorsen took over the program. "I thought our kids played hard and gave ourselves a chance," Holgerson said of his team. "Just came up a little short." King threw for 128 yards passing and 94 yards rushing and two touchdowns to put Houston up 14-7 at the half. Unfortunately, the offensive momentum from the first half did not carry into the second, which was riddled with unforced turnovers and costly errors, contributing to Houston's loss. Houston struggled to move the ball in the second half, lost two fumbles and only scored once after halftime. King seemed to have scored on a 72-yard run late in the third quarter but it was stymied by a textbook holding call on sophomore receiver Jeremy Singleton. While WSU beat Houston 31-24 on Friday night, both teams had a combined 209 yards of penalties on Friday night, something they'll need to address before conference play begins next week. Aside from the sloppy second half, possibly the most frustrating part of this loss is Holgorsen's soft reaction to it. "We don't want moral victories or any of that ... we didn't play good enough to win," Holgorsen said. "Didn't make enough plays and the ball didn't bounce our way enough for us to come out of here with a win and that needs to happen next week." Senior WSU receiver Brandon Arconado finished with 308 yards on 23 receptions and a score to help WSU to victory. Anthony Gordon led WSU's charge over Houston, finishing 36-of-48 with 440 yards and three touchdowns. Houston opens AAC play at Tulane on Thursday.

Texas A&M 62, Lamar 3

Quarterback Kellen Mond did his part to help the 16th ranked Aggies to a lopsided win 62-3 win over Lamar on Saturday, throwing for 317 yards, a touchdown, and a scoring run. Sophomore running back Isiah Spiller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies, ensuring there was no drop-off after taking over for Jashaun Corbin who sustained a season-ending hamstring injury last week. A&M coach Jimbo Fisher recognizes enormous growth in Spiller, despite the new featured back only playing in three games. "There's a lot put on him and the expectations for what he's doing," said Fisher. "He's having to fill some big shoes for us and what we lost and the way things are going. He's a very smart, talented young man and he's doing a really good job. Very mature for his age." Expect A&M to hold their poll position after taking care of business against an un-ranked opponent. A&M opens SEC play against No. 8 Auburn next Saturday.

LSU 65, Northwestern State 14

At first glance it appears No. 4 LSU easily handled Northwestern State but coach Ed Orgeron was forced to leave quarterback Joe Burrow in longer than planned after a more competitive first half from NWST than expected. Burrow capitalized on the highlight reel opportunity, completing 21 of 24 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns as LSU put away NWST 65-14 on Saturday. This is the second time Burrow has been subbed out early due to a lopsided score this season. The star quarterback is now 75-of-90 passing for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns in LSU's first three games. Look for LSU to remain within the top five based on the Tigers final margin of victory. LSU opens SEC play next Saturday against Vanderbilt.

Texas 48, Rice 13

Sam Ehlinger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, leading the 12th ranked Longhorns to an easy 48-13 rebound victory over Rice. The Longhorns started fast and clicked in every phase of the game after losing at home to LSU last week. "Any type of game where you win after a loss is huge," Ehlinger said. "For us to come out and play to our standard, continue to prove to ourselves that when we work really hard and play to our standard, it is hard for people to beat us is great." Keaontay Ingrahm rushed for 74 yards and two scored for Texas after being held to just 29 yards on 10 carries last week. Expect Texas to hold its position after a blowout win over Rice. Texas hosts Oklahoma next Saturday to open Big 12 play.

TCU 34, Purdue 13

The Horned Frogs boasted an unstoppable running game, racking up 346 rushing yards on 58 carries as TCU beat Purdue 34-13 on Saturday night. Darius Anderson was in peak form, rushing for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. "Darius is running better now than I've seen him since he was a sophomore," TCU coach Gary Patterson of the senior running back. TCU had 160 yards rushing on 28 attempts in the first half while Purdue was held to minus-1 on 12 attempts. The Horned Frogs host SMU on Saturday.

Arizona 28, Texas Tech 14

Arizona ran the ball right down the Red Raider's throat 13 straight times during a 99-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended with Gary Brightwell barreling into the end zone for his second touchdown, sealing the Wildcat's 28-14 win over Texas Tech Saturday night. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate threw for 185 yards, one touchdown, and carried it in for another score. Texas Tech opens its conference play at Oklahoma on 9/28.

Sam Houston 47, Texas State 17

The Mustangs bolted out of the gate against and never let up in SMU's 47-17 victory over Texas State on Saturday. Mustang quarterback Shane Buechele was 14-of-18 passing with two touchdowns on 219 yards. Texas State hosts Georgia State next Saturday night.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome