Local school recognizes boy battling cancer as honorary team captain

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — A local high school is recognizing a child battling cancer with a special honor at Friday’s homecoming game.

Haywood County High School Tomcats celebrate their homecoming Friday night against the Liberty Tech Crusaders. While the festivities started early in the day, the Tomcats wanted to make the day special for another Haywood County student.

“Clayton recently came home with a good diagnosis coming out last week, and so we thought what a better way to recognize and honor him,” Haywood County athletic director Tim Seymour said.

“We are just so excited,” Clayton’s mom Natalie Pinner said. “The community over the last year has just been absolutely incredible to our family.”

Clayton Pinner was diagnosed with cancer last year at only 6 years old.

“ALL Leukemia B-Cell, and he also has a very rare form of that Leukemia, which is hypodiploid, so it’s only in two percent of kids are diagnosed with that kind,” Natalie said.

Seymour says Clayton is an energetic little boy, and the team is happy to have him as their honorary captain.

“He brings energy, even when he was sick last year,” Seymour said. “He’s like a bottle of energy. We just want to support Clayton. The community has wrapped our arms around him, and we will continue to wrap our arms around him.”

Clayton is also a big fan of his Tomcat football.

“Clayton has a great relationship with our team,” Seymour said. “He’s been known as the biggest Haywood fan when he was healthy. When he came to the games, just dressed out in a football uniform everywhere, so he has a connection with the team.”

And his family is excited to see Clayton be a part of the homecoming action.

“The high school kids, they are constantly like calling and texting, FaceTiming, sending letters,” Natalie said. “It’s just a way that everybody has really come together.”

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at the L.Z. Hurley Memorial Stadium in Brownsville.

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