Isaac Harkness made a promise to a friend, and the Blue Springs High School wide receiver is doing everything possible to make it a reality.
Every time he slips on his wide receiver gloves or laces his cleats, he is reminded of his late friend and teammate, Darrian Warmack, who died Dec. 22, 2018, in a car crash on Duncan Road in Blue Springs.
"I put Darrian’s name on my cleats and my gloves, because two years ago I made a promise to him, and I’m working so hard to make it come true," Harkness said after a recent workout at Peve Stadium with teammates Xavier Loyd and Cameron Matthews.
"When we honored Darrian with a balloon tribute, I wrote on my balloon that he was going to inspire me to get a college scholarship. We talked about that all the time before the accident.
"We were both going to inspire each other to get a scholarship, and now, he’s inspiring me in a different way, and I don’t ever want to let him down."
Harkness was a junior wide receiver on the 2019 Wildcats football team and his brother Dom (who graduated in May) was the quarterback. That season provided many memorable moments for the brothers, and Isaac hopes next season provides many more.
"It looks like Cameron is going to be one of our quarterbacks next season and he and I are already on the same page," Harkness said. "If we have any free time now, we’re on the field working."
He chuckles at the comment, and is quick to add, "I want all my teachers out there to know I’m taking care of all the online classes before I’m practicing.
"But I have to admit, it’s taking me a while to get used to all this computer stuff and online classes. I hope everyone of their students isn’t texting and messaging them as much as I am, because I have way too many questions right now."
One question he does not have concerns the Wildcats new head coach, David White, who will move with his family from Mississippi sometime this summer.
"The day Coach White was announced as the new head coach, I had the chance to meet him and I felt like we really hit it off," Harkness said. "Then, I was in the press box a few weeks ago and he was in there and had a board full of plays – real diverse and advanced stuff – and we got to talk about it.
"He’s sent me some routines to work on and has been great to respond every time I have reached out to him. We’re all going to miss Coach D (Kelly Donohoe, who coached at Blue Springs the past 20 years) but understand how he could retire in Blue Springs and go teach somewhere else (Rockhurst High School).
"We all wish him a lot of luck, except Week 9 (when the Hawklets come to Peve Stadium to play the Wildcats)."
Harkness said he believes God has a plan in his life, and that faith helps him deal with all the health issues surrounding our country today.
"I pray a lot," Harkness said. "I pray for my friends, for my family, for my country – I pray that God is going to watch over all us doing this (coronavirus) pandemic and quarantine and I hope some good can come from it.
"At first, I didn’t see any good with my girls’ (the Blue Springs girls basketball team) season coming to an end before they could go to the final four, the cancellation of school and spring sports – all that stuff.
"But I think there may be some good, because I’ve noticed that all the little things mean so much more to me. My friends mean more, my mom and dad and family mean so much more to me."
That includes getting in a workout outside at Peve Stadium.
"Being out on a football field on a nice sunny day means so much more to me," he said. "And I’m going to use this time to appreciate all the little things, to slow down and not hurry like I used to, and enjoy life.
"And I can thank God for that."