High schools

Southern Durham senior Doug Satterfield leads from the sidelines

tstevens@newsobserver.comDecember 12, 2013 

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    NCHSAA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

    Friday

    High Point Andrews (13-1) vs. Monroe (13-2), 7:30 p.m., at UNC’s Kenan Stadium, 2AA

    Saturday

    Southwest Onslow (12-3) vs. Shelby (11-4), 11 a.m., at UNC’s Kenan Stadium, 2A

    Plymouth (14-0) vs. Murphy (12-3), 11 a.m., at Winston-Salem’s BB&T Field, 1A

    Havelock (15-0) vs. Concord (15-0), 11 a.m., at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium, 3A

    Warsaw Kenan (14-0) vs. West Montgomery (14-1), 3 p.m., at Winston-Salem’s BB&T Field, 1AA

    Scotland (15-0) vs. Greensboro Dudley (14-0), 3 p.m., at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium, 4A

    Southern Durham (13-2) vs. Shelby Crest (14-1), 7 p.m., at Winston-Salem’s BB&T Field, 3AA

    Wake Forest (12-3) vs. Charlotte Mallard Creek (15-0), 7 p.m., at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium, 4AA

    Admission is $10 per site. If you leave the facility, you must pay to re-enter. Parking is $10.

    Umbrellas, fireworks, artificial or electronic noise makers, or food or beverages are not allowed. Bags are subject to being searched.

    N.C. State: Tickets are $10. Parking is $10. Gates open at 9:30 a.m.

    Winston-Salem: Tickets are $10. Parking is $10. Gates open at 10 a.m.

    UNC: Tickets are $10.

Southern Durham senior Doug Satterfield said he isn’t very good on the sidelines.

The desire to run onto the field to hit somebody is almost overpowering at times. He stands beside assistant coach Brandon Hampton, the man who introduced Satterfield to football, and Southern head coach Adrian Jones. Satterfield cheers on his teammates.

But it is difficult.

He loses focus at times and thinks if he could put on pads for just one play he could make a difference. One big hit might inspire his teammates, the guys he calls his brothers.

But after more than a half dozen concussions, Satterfield’s high school football playing days are done.

His job on this team, which will play for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3AA title against Shelby Crest on Saturday, is not finished, though.

“I am still the captain,” Satterfield said. “I am still responsible for leading, even if I can’t play.”

Satterfield, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound guard, was concussed during Southern’s first game this season, a 29-24 loss to Hillside.

He was knocked unconscious. The injury appeared to be bad and as her son was helped off the field, his mother, Rochelle Satterfield, told the coach her son would not play football again.

“She hasn’t budged,” Doug Satterfield said. “We figure that I had eight or nine concussions playing football, at least three or four in less than a year. It was too dangerous.”

Jones agreed. He wouldn’t put Satterfield back on the field, but the coach wanted him around.

“He is still a leader of this football team,” said Jones, who called Satterfield a student coach. “I wanted him around as much as he could be.”

Satterfield said at the time, his biggest regret was that he wasn’t going to be able to play in the state championship.

“There was never any doubt in my mind that we’d be in the state finals,” he said.

Rochelle Satterfield said the decision to give up football hurt her son. She sees how much he wants to play, how much he wants things to be the way they were.

“As a parent, I wish I could do something to help relieve his pain. He really misses playing. Not playing has really affected him. He is sad,” she said. “But as a responsible parent, I have to do what is best for him in the long run.”

Rochelle Satterfield, who is a data manager at Southern Durham High, told her son that it was time to put football away and to start thinking about his future.

“The senior year of high school is tough for a lot of students, especially boys,” she said. “I wanted Douglas to be focused on what he really wants to accomplish. What does he really want to do with his life?”

The regret limits Doug Satterfield’s contact with the team. He said he goes to practices, but sometimes has to leave early.

He gets too emotional at times and has to step away. His mind says one thing and his heart another.

He feels a responsibility to lead, but has learned to lead in a different way.

“I think I’ve become more of a life mentor than a football team leader,” he said. “I led by working hard, making the big hits, being dedicated and holding myself and everyone else accountable for their actions.

“I don’t make the big hits anymore and I don’t lift the most weight, but I am concentrating on making myself a better person. I think the guys still look up to me. I know that I’m a leader.”

He may be in the best shape of his life. He runs six or seven miles a day, can still bench press about 390 pounds. He devises different ways to work out, like moving logs from one side of the yard to the other.

He has enlisted in the Marines – his father Douglas Satterfield Sr. is a retired Marine and two older brothers are in the service – and he reports on July 28.

He wanted to graduate in December and report in the spring, but his mother insisted that the 17-year-old wait until the summer.

“She said she wanted to send a man to service, not a boy,” he said.

As his mother wanted, Satterfield is focused on his future. He wants a wife and family and plans to name his first child McKenzie Gabriele Satterfield.

“Mom had five boys. If I had been a girl, I’d be Gabriele and the sound of McKenzie Gabriele Satterfield is beautiful to me,” he said.

He understands why he can’t play Saturday when the Spartans (13-2) play Shelby Crest (14-1) at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.

“You only have one brain,” he said. “I was injuring mine by playing football. I miss playing. I’m willing to lay down my life for my future Marines and my country, but I couldn’t risk my future on the football field.

“I’m thinking about my future wife and McKenzie Gabriele Satterfield.”

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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