The morning after Anthony L. Strather Jr., a star defensive lineman at Arlington Bowie High School, was fatally shot, his grandfather struggled to control his emotions as he described how much Strather’s family loved him — and how much Strather loved his teammates.
“Anthony was a great kid,” Lawrence “Pops” Smith said Friday, standing outside the Arlington home where Strather had lived with his parents and brothers. “One thing about my grandson, he always was protective of his friends and teammates. He cared so much about his teammates.”
Strather, 17, was a senior at Bowie and a starting defensive end for the Volunteers. He received an honorable mention on the All-District team last year.
Strather was killed and a second student wounded Thursday afternoon, school Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said in a statement released Thursday.
The Bowie football team paid tribute to their fallen teammate during Friday night’s game against Trimble Tech at Clark Stadium in Fort Worth.
Every player had the No. 46 on the front-right side of their jersey. Cheerleaders painted the No. 46 on the left side of their face as well. Orange balloons were tied all along Bowie’s side and signs were hung up that said “play for 46” and “LLT” which means Long Live Tony.
The Bowie captains held Strather’s jersey during the coin toss and a moment of silence was held before the national anthem.
The two students were shot when gunfire erupted at about 4 p.m. outside a home in the 2000 block of Cliffside Drive, said Lt. Chris Cook, an Arlington police spokesman. The home is in a neighborhood adjacent to the school, police said.
A man working at a computer in a nearby home was also wounded when he was struck by a stray bullet, Cook said.
The man and the second student, a boy who was shot in the leg, were expected to survive, Cook said.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office had not made a ruling on the cause or manner of death Friday.
The shooting followed an altercation that apparently began when several people arrived in vehicles, police said. Detectives were trying to determine the assailants’ identity.
The school district canceled Thursday’s scheduled Bowie’s freshman and junior varsity football games against Trimble Tech.
School counselors were on campus Friday to assist students.
Quaylon Strather, Anthony’s younger brother, said his brother was never in any trouble.
“He’s a good person,” Quaylon Strather as he stood near his grandfather. “He was so loyal to his friends.”
According to Bowie’s MaxPreps page, Strather recorded 22 tackles, one for loss, and two sacks in four games this season. He made a season-high eight tackles twice, against Mansfield and Rockwall.
The Vols are ranked No. 9 in the latest Dallas-Fort Worth Class 6A area rankings. They entered Friday’s game 5-1 overall and 3-0 in District 4-6A.
“I’m planning something (in tribute), but I’m keeping it in house,” Bowie head coach Danny DeArman said.
Strather was listed as a preseason top 10 area defensive end to watch. He made 76 tackles, seven for loss and 3 1/2 sacks in 2018, which included tackles of 12, 16, 15 in three straight games early in the season.
“Everybody is holding up OK,” Smith said, referring to the family. “My message to the community is hug your children.”
High school sports editor Brian Gosset contributed to this report.