Fort D's team manager a mainstay on the sidelines - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Fort D's team manager a mainstay on the sidelines

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- They say actions speak louder than words, but what may speak louder than actions is a simple smile.

On Fort Dorchester football Friday nights, the smile on Ryan Stafford's face can light up Bagwell Stadium. 

"I run the balls in and other stuff, I give them water and stuff," said Stafford, who graduated Fort Dorchester in 2007. 

He's a fixture, a mainstay -- he's truly a Patriot. 

"If you cut him open, he'll bleed red and blue," said Fort Dorchester Head Coach Steve LaPrad.  "Players around here are good to him and take him under their wings."

LaPrad doesn't know how Stafford started his tenure as a team manager; it was well before LaPrad got to Fort Dorchester over a decade ago. Stafford only knows that it started when he was a child. His father is the groundskeeper for the Patriots fields. 

Always feeling an attachment to the players on the Patriots sidelines, when asked how cool it is for him to see a guy like Robert Quinn on the field in the NFL, Stafford replies quickly, "And Carlos (Dunlap). It's awesome!" 

LaPrad sees the attachment he has with those players. 

"He's very close with them, when those guys are back, no matter if it's a professional guy or just a guy that played here they will come and see him. They take care of him, he takes care of them as well," he said. 

The beauty of this, Fort Dorchester has given Stafford a passion and Stafford is giving Fort Dorchester his all every Friday night in the fall. 

"He'll be here when I'm gone," said LaPrad.  "I hope he is. He is great for Fort Dorchester, he's great for our kids and we love him, man." 

  • Scott Eisberg

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