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Football is salvation for Marshall’s Rakeem Cato

Register-Herald photo by Brad Davis Marshall University quarterback Rakeem Cato signs an autograph for 9-year-old fan Braylon Arvon during the question and answer portion of the Big Atlantic Classic Tip-Off Banquet Sunday afternoon at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. Though coach Doc Holliday and Cato were scheduled for an autograph session at the end of the banquet, Arvon decided not to wait, asking Cato if he would sign a wristband he got from him during the Herd’s Military Bowl win in Maryland. Without a second thought Cato agreed, and Arvon made his way onto the stage and got his wristband signed.
Register-Herald photo by Brad Davis
Marshall University quarterback Rakeem Cato signs an autograph for 9-year-old fan Braylon Arvon during the question and answer portion of the Big Atlantic Classic Tip-Off Banquet Sunday afternoon at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

By Gary Fauber

Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — To say Rakeem Cato had a tough life growing up would be putting it mildly.

He lost his mother when he was 12. He has yet to meet his father, and says he only recently considered starting lines of communication. He spent much of his childhood in Miami raised by his 14-year-old sister.

Like many players who had it rough like Cato, he was able to find an escape through football.

“When I’m on that football field, everything else just blacks out,” Marshall’s quarterback told the audience as one of the keynote speakers at Sunday’s Big Atlantic Classic Tip-Off Banquet.

More than 1,000 people braved streets and parking lots that were still a bit dicey from Saturday’s substantial snowfall to hear Cato and Marshall head coach Doc Holliday at the annual event. The two represented the Thundering Herd not quite a month removed from its 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl…

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