HERMON – It’s November, a symphony of colors prelude darkness.
Cleats echo on the frozen ground at Pottle Field in Hermon. It’s playoff season, the next game could be the Hawks last.
“Being a senior now this year I’ve kind of put in the role of myself you have to do your best because it could be your last,” Hermon senior running back, River Mullen, said.
Mullen and every Hermon senior share that sentiment, but for Mullen, it hits a little harder.
“It was a relatively early in the year hard practice,” head coach, Kyle Gallant, said.
“I remember just feeling this really bad pain and my arm hurting,” Mullen said.
“I end up going towards coach Gallant and the coaches and our athletic trainer Ari, I remember trying to walk towards them and just falling and then after that I don’t remember anything,” Mullen added.
He came to shortly after. Doctors ran every test they could think of, but Mullen checked out okay.
A freak incident that sidelined him for Hermon’s Week 2 tilt against Waterville.
“It definitely sucked staying on the sideline just seeing them practice without me,” Mullen said. “As much as he wanted to play that Friday night we had to tell him to sit out so let’s put it that way,” he added.
Mullen came to peace with the decision, thanks to some advice, from someone who knows the pain of losing the game.
“There’s more to life than the 48 minutes on a football field,” River’s brother, Garrett, said.
Garrett Mullen was forced to give up his college football career at the University of New England, due to ongoing complications from a serious bout with bacterial pneumonia.
“I just told him that you know this could have been something very serious that could have sidelined you for the whole year,” Garrett said.
Every week, Garrett takes the two hour drive north from the UNE to Hermon to coach and be there for his brother.
Who’s playing for more than himself and his team.
“I thought about it I was like if he’s going to be my coach then I have to ball out for him I have his number on my cleat all the time his old No.56 jersey it’s always on my cleat,” River said.
They’ve suffered, cried, laughed, won and lost together. Win or lose against Winslow on Saturday, they’ll continue to live life as brothers.
“No matter what the outcome is he’s my brother, if you end your senior year saying three consecutive years went to playoffs that’s pretty good,” Garrett said.
Hermon travels to play Winslow in Class C North semis Saturday at 1 p.m.