By Kevin Eickman
It has been over ten years since the magic carpet ride which witnessed the 2008 Buccaneer football team earn its one and only state title. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat for the whole journey. With my two boys playing on the team, I can remember the joy of that team as if it were yesterday. While it was wonderful to watch the team achieve heights on the field, previously thought impossible, it was the time after the games which are truly etched in my mind.
Following games the players changed and gathered at the cafeteria for a post-game meal. Being one of the boosters who helped serve those meals or clean up afterwards, the one thing that stood out to me was how close the players were. The players were always quick to thank the boosters for their effort and chief among them was Brandon Legrand. From a distance, Legrand was quiet an unassuming young man who at times carried that entire team on his shoulders. Legrand was the type of football player everyone hoped to be. Beyond that he was a kind and gentle soul who was always there for others. Sadly, this past Sunday morning Brandon succumbed to injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Reaching out to his coaches and a former teammate, it was quite evident that Legrand was much more than quiet and unassuming. Speaking with former Buccaneer quarterback Marques Jones, it was obvious Legrand was simply a joy to be around. “He would just light up a room. He loved to play the game and always wanted everyone to be happy,” Jones stated. “If he saw a guy was down, he would go out of his way to try and pick him up. That’s just the way he was.”
Perhaps one of the people closest to him was Dr. David Carter, who was a coach on the State Championship Milford team. Taking some time to chat, even though the raw emotion was evident in his voice, Dr. Carter shared some of his thoughts on Brandon. “Our relationship was much bigger than football. As a matter of fact, football was just a small part of who he was,” Dr. Carter said. “He was such a warm and caring individual who would do anything to help you out. As an example, he helped me move my mother to Tennessee when she relocated. There was nothing in it for him but just helping a friend, which was what he was all about.”
Dr. Carter did a little math on the 2008 season some time back. While he could not remember the exact number, Dr. Carter stated that he averaged about 14 yards a carry. “Think about that. Every time he touched the ball he gained 14 yards over an entire season,” Dr. Carter said. “Everyone knew who was going to get the ball, everyone had a plan to stop him, but nobody could. He was born to carry the football and nobody did it like him.”
A story that Jones and Dr. Carter shared shed a little light on the quick witted sense of humor Legrand had. After a long touchdown run up in Dover, Legrand came back to the sideline shaking his head. When asked what was wrong, he responded “Man, that guy was fast.” When asked who he was talking about, Legrand responded “Me” sending the whole sideline into laughter. “That’s just who he was, he wanted people to laugh and have fun,” Dr. Carter commented.
Another difficult call came from the head coach of that squad, Mike Tkach. As with the rest of the Milford community the news of Legrand’s passing devastated him. “Brandon was one of those special players, who just had it all. He not only was he a fantastic runner, he was solid on the defensive side of the ball as well.”
Brandon is survived by his father Raymond, mother Wanda, his older brother Ray and his younger sister Sharane. Brandon was also a father to four children Jamya, Gianna, Josiah and Braelyn.
During his career at Milford Legrand ran for 3,777 yards. It was not those yards or games that defined him. It was his love for family, teammates, friends and even strangers that made him who he was. The only football moment left for Legrand was being named to the 2019 Hall of Fame for Milford. His selection was made just a few days before his passing. While the committee had not had time to give him the official call, it is an honor well deserved.
The Hall of Fame presentation is typically the first home game of the season, which will be on September 13 against Delaware Military Academy. While we may mourn as a community today, on that evening it will be a celebration of a loved and cherished member of our football family. That night will give us a chance to revel in all the thrills and joy he brought to us. And maybe, just maybe we will be able to smile at the thought of those memories. Brandon would want nothing less.
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