By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
DAYTON — No one would have held it against Austan Good if he didn’t play in the Troy football team’s season opener Thursday. Not after losing his brother, Zackery Schwausch, a mere three days before in a tragic car accident.
Nothing was going to keep him away from the field, though.
A senior defensive lineman for the Trojans, Good not only played in the Trojans’ first game of the season against Belmont Thursday at Welcome Stadium, he was a one-man wrecking crew on defense, assisting on a fourth-down stop that led to a Troy touchdown in the first half and then being involved in the two-point conversion stops that helped cement Troy’s 28-27 overtime victory.
Schwausch, a 2018 Troy High School graduate and former Troy football player himself, passed away on Monday in a fatal accident. He was 19.
For Good, getting onto the field and playing was a chance to honor his late brother’s memory.
“I’m just feeling good that I could come out tonight and play my heart out for my brother,” said an emotional Good, his demeanor a mixture of grief and sadness, but also pride and accomplishment. “I know it’s what he would have wanted for me.”
Good even changed his number in the week leading up to the game. He had worn No. 54 his sophomore and junior seasons, but he wore No. 48 Thursday night — the number Schwausch wore during his senior season in 2017.
“Tonight’s game couldn’t have been more fitting,” said Troy football coach Dan Gress, who coached Schwausch as an assistant before taking the head coaching job this season. “With the recent loss of our brother Zack, before the game, all we’ve talked about as a team is how loving each other through the tough times is what’s going to define this team. And what better way to start it off than having to respond in a game like this.”
And the Trojans have responded all week long by coming even closer together.
“It’s been a tough week for us,” Troy senior quarterback Brayden Siler said. “We got the news on Monday. You hear that, he’s a former football player, I knew him, and it should never happen, for someone to be taken off the Earth like that that early. As soon as I heard, I thought of my teammate Austan, who was brothers with him, and my heart was aching.
“It was just hard. We had a ceremony before the game today to remember his life, and that was really special. Coming out here, we just knew we had to get a ‘W,’ in remembrance of Zack and for Austan to help push through it. We were all by his side. Tonight really showed the heart of this team.”
“Austan, we love him and Zack so much,” Gress said. “Our hearts just broke, for the loss of our brother Zack and over seeing our brother Austan and his family in pain. This team truly is a family, and when one family member is hurting, you all hurt. This team has came together and is going to continue to come together to support our brother and his family in getting through this tough time.
“What we’re going to try to do as a team is embody Zack’s spirit — tough-nosed, dedication, hard work. And the biggest, caring, loving heart and the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.”
And all of that helped Good not only make it through the week, but also helped him perform to the best of his abilities, even under the circumstances.
”My team has been here for me personally so much, and I’m so grateful for it, honestly,” Good said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. And I know they came out here with the same mindset I did, playing on behalf of my brother and playing on behalf of me. And we all got the job done tonight.”
And Good said that his brother’s memory helped push him, as well.
“I know he’s been working me all week, telling me that I have to play and go out there and do it for him, and I feel like that’s what I did tonight,” Good said.
“I know he’s proud of me.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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