By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
HENRYETTA, OK -- A Henryetta High School graduate is killed while serving in Afghanistan. Petty Officer Tony Randolph died after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Petty Officer Randolph was a 2005 graduate of Henryetta High School. He was known for his determination on the athletic field and his love for the red, white, and blue.
Henryetta High School Football Coach Kenny Speer is taking a difficult walk down memory lane. The journey brought about after learning his former star offensive lineman, Tony Randolph, 22, was killed while serving in Afghanistan on Monday.
"That's his senior picture right there," said Coach Kenny Speer.
Shane Howell and Jonathan Berry were Randolph's best friends. The trio was nicknamed the three stooges. Now framed by the stars and stripes Randolph served, the memories of all the good times come easy.
"Tough, tough guy. Wanted to be the best in everything, pretty much," said Shane Howell.
"If it wasn't me and Tony, it was him and Tony against me or me and Tony. That's just how it was," added Jonathan Berry.
Randolph was a three-year starter for the Knights, even making all-district on defense. When graduation came, he turned to the U.S. Navy, knowing his life could, one day, be put on the line.
"He knew what he was going into and it didn't bother him one bit. That's what he wanted and that's the way it was going to be," said Jonathan Berry.
When Randolph graduated from Henryetta his goal was to serve a few years in the military and then go to college. But, he soon changed his mind and decided to spend the rest of his life serving his country.
"He wanted to protect the country, I mean that was his attitude and that's the way he was," said Coach Kenny Speer.
His friends say Randolph wouldn't want any tears shed over his death. Instead, they say, they'll celebrate his memory and carry on with life.
"He wouldn't want us to be sad, you know, that's just the way he was," said Jonathan Berry. "But, you just got to roll with it just like he would want us to do."
Petty Officer Randolph kept in touch with Henryetta Football even while serving overseas; his former coach says he would often call the day after games to see if the team won.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.