Reidsville, N.C. — Last summer, Breon Pass was a rising junior at Reidsville High School. He was coming off an incredible sophomore year as an athlete.
During the fall of 2018, Pass caught two touchdown passes in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A state championship game, lifting the Rams to a 31-28 win over Northeastern, completing a perfect season.
By the winter season, the sophomore Pass led the basketball team in scoring with a 23.5 points per game average. Coached by Breon’s dad, Curtis, the basketball team won 20 games that year.
By the summer of 2019, Breon was seeing his recruiting pick up in both sports. Reidsville was poised for another big season in both football and basketball during Breon’s junior year too.
Breon’s life changed forever on June 21, 2019, though. That day, Curtis died at the age of 41 due to heart complications. Breon’s father — his coach and his role model — was gone.
“My best friend, trainer, mentor, coach — everything to me,” Breon said. “When he passed away I had a moment where I was down bad, I couldn’t do anything, but then I just had this feeling like I couldn’t stop now because I knew he’d be proud of me.”
So Breon played. And Breon won.
On the football field last fall, Breon led the team in receiving touchdowns with 13. He caught 42 passes for 752 yards. He also carried the ball 13 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Reidsville won the 2A state championship again, beating the very same Northeastern team by a 14-0 score.
Then came basketball season. Breon once again led the team in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per game. In January, he scored 50 points in a game to lead the Rams to a come-from-behind win over Salisbury.
Reidsville finished the boys basketball season with a 26-3 record, winning the conference title, and advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs where it lost to South Granville in a 72-69 thriller.
“I just see him, shadows of him, on the sideline. Before the game I just pray, then it’s like he’s behind me guiding me through the whole game,” Breon said. “I can feel him, definitely.”
Breon’s mom, Nikia Pass, has watched him use sports to cope with the loss of his father, but she’s also watched him excel.
“It’s been an inspiration to me. A lot of times you hear of kids looking up to their parents, but the role has reversed, it’s like I’m getting some motivation from him,” Nikia said. “I always would hear him say he wanted Breon to be this type of athlete, this type, or that type, and I actually saw it … I wish his dad could see that, but we know he’s looking.”
Breon still has one more year left at Reidsville as a member of the Class of 2021. He has some big decisions to make too. Several colleges would like him to commit to their schools for either football or basketball.
In football, Breon has offers from Appalachian State, Duke, East Carolina, Elon, NC State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. On the basketball side, East Carolina, Elon, Hampton, NC A&T, and NC State have all offered.
Breon Pass is a finalist for the Stuart Scott Courage Award presented by UNC-TV. To see who wins, watch “HighSchoolOT Honors” on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at 8 p.m. on FOX 50, HighSchoolOT.com, and the free HighSchoolOT app. Other Courage Award stories will run each weeknight leading up to the show.