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The Huddle: Overcoming a tough loss

9/15/2011

The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

In this inaugural addition of the series we talk to Shaquille Powell of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) about dealing with a tough loss as a team leader and about the person in his life that motivates him the most. Powell is a versatile talent that contributes on both sides of the ball at halfback and safety and is ranked as the 45th running back talent in the country by ESPNU. He is a 3.2 student who is considering Duke, Vanderbilt, Illinois, San Diego State, Fresno State, UNLV, Utah, Texas and Florida State.

How do you cope with a loss?

Down, 20-3, heading into the fourth quarter of a recent game opposite Armwood (Seffner, Fla.), Powell's Bishop Gorman mounted a furious comeback.

"We fought our way back, gave everything we had," said Powell. "We got within 20-17 and were driving at their 30-yard line."

But with 10 seconds to play, the game-tying field goal try went awry, forcing Bishop Gorman to absorb its first loss on its home field in three years.

"That was the most painful experience ever. Probably 90 percent of my teammates were crying," said Powell. "We gave everything we had, an we still did not get the outcome that we wanted. It was the most painful thing and the worst feeling ever."

After the game, Powell and other team captains huddled the players for a speech.

"We said, 'You know, we've got to flush this, because there's nothing that you can do,'" said Powell. "You've got to have a short-term memory and just say it's the past. It's not reality anymore, and you have to look to the future and focus on the next game."

Powell said that shedding the overwhelming feeling of being "a loser" can be among the most difficult things, "but, really, that's similar to what you have to do in life situations," he said.

"As a leader, you've got to come back and tell your teammates, 'I'm not going to fail you guys again,'" said Powell. "You've got to continue to have faith in yourself, and you also have to demonstrate with your actions that you have faith in your team."

ROLE MODEL: His mother, Scarlett Forwood "That definitely has to be my mom. Single mother, domestic violence, living in a homeless shelter when I was a kid, getting out of debt. She's overcome so many obstacles. When I look at her, I'm like, 'Wow, she's a really strong woman.' When I go through tough situations, I ask myself, 'what would she do?' She's made it her goal to make my life better. That's where I get my heart and will to complete difficult tasks."