ZEPHYRHILLS — Charles Harrison III lofted a 32-yard touchdown pass on his fourth attempt of the game. The Zephyrhills High senior spent the rest of the half launching left-handed strikes from wherever his swift feet would take him.
The speed. The strong arm. The improvisational skills. It is all part of Harrison’s athletically divine DNA.
This football lineage bridges three generations. Harrison III shares a name, a number (12) and a position with his father and grandfather.
“Playing quarterback is just what we do in this family,” said his dad, Harrison Jr.
The Harrisons are defined not only by the sport, but by tragedy.
Charles “Bo” Harrison, the patriarch of the family, was a multisport athlete for Mickens, the all-black school at the time in Dade City. He scored 55 touchdowns in his high school career, including 22 passing and 18 rushing as a quarterback in 1963.
Harrison went on to become a Pasco County Sheriff’s lieutenant. In 2003, he was shot while on patrol near a nightclub in Lacoochee. Deputies found Harrison in his patrol car, not breathing.
The beloved hometown hero died a month before he was set to retire.
Harrison Jr. said he often went to that nightclub. Instead, he stayed home and was asleep when he got the news.
“I drove to where the shooting happened,” Harrison Jr. said. “Sheriff deputies took me to the scene, then I went to the hospital. Once Daddy was gone, I just couldn’t believe it. I lost it.”
Harrison III was 2 years old at the time, still too young to remember much about his grandfather.
“I wasn’t able to really understand what happened back then,” he said. “But I’ve gotten to know my grandfather through all the stories everyone would tell.”
Football is the family heirloom passed from one generation to the next.
Harrison and …read more