Du Quoin Football's Helping Hands

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By WSIL Sports

DU QUOIN -- Dave Eaton has spent more than 30 years on the sideline but he's never been in a game. He's okay with that though. He still enjoys his job.

"I really have a blast out here," Eaton said.

Dave is Du Quoin's team manager. He's been with the Indians for more than 20 years. Born with a disability, he couldn't play football as a freshman at West Frankfort High School. So he decided to volunteer.

"That's as close to participating in an actual sport, since I wasn't quite good enough to play. So I can still be active and be a part of the team in other ways."

Eaton's schedule is always busy. He goes to football practice two to three times a week, with games on Friday's. When he's not with the football team, he's helping out with volleyball and basketball.

"I really enjoy it, it's gratifying," Eaton said. "I enjoy working with all the kids and all the players and the coaches."

But Dave can't do it alone. That's why his longtime girlfriend, Linda Paris helps out as well. The two have been dating for 22 years and are almost always together. They even wear matching Du Quoin apparel to every game.

"We're very inseparable," he said. "We always do stuff together, all the time."

Eaton and Paris are constantly moving on the sideline. After all, keeping the team hydrated is a lot of work.

"Every game they are always there to bring you water and to give you
anything you need," Du Quoin senior linebacker Tim Cochran said.

"They're of course, big fans of Du Quoin football and it just means a lot
to us that they're always there supporting us," Du Quoin senior cornerback Haeden Sweetin added.

"Some of them say thank you and others don't say anything but they
appreciate it, I know," Linda said.

One person that can't say thank you enough, longtime head coach Al
Martin.

"I tell you what, they're a valuable asset to our program," Martin said. "They're good-hearted people, they go out of their way to help anybody in our community."
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