Father, son share love for football

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BRATTLEBORO — Seven years after he helped keep blitzers away from Bellows Falls quarterback Jeremy Kilburn, Henry Empey is now protecting the United States.

The Field Artillery Lieutenant was deployed to Afghanistan in September.

"He always talks in terms of teamwork as far as being in the Army is concerned, and worries a lot about the guys under him," said Henry's father, Mike. "He is a quiet guy, always has been, preferring to let his actions speak for him."

Henry suffered a serious elbow injury during Week 1 of his senior season with the Terriers in 2010, but still showed up for football practices and had to be told by coach Bob Lockerby to stay out of the team drills. He returned in Week 7 against Winooski.

"He played like a man possessed," said the elder Empey, who knew his son was hungry after missing five games. "This was a game his grandmother had been looking forward to attending, unfortunately she passed away the previous July. I think he felt like she was looking down on it."

Bellows Falls went on to beat Windsor, 39-22, in the state championship game.

"Henry had a great game against Windsor. I particularly remember he played so hard that he cleaned out the umpire while blocking their star middle linebacker, and he made a key block on the opening kickoff of the second half which Ryan Hayward took to the house," Mike Empey noted.

The starting center also did a fine job of helping to protect Kilburn, who completed 8-of-11 passes including a TD toss to Brendan Hackett.

Henry would go on to graduate from UVM in 2015 after receiving a four-year National Merit ROTC Scholarship. He is engaged to be married in 2019 and he would like to become a firefighter/paramedic when he gets done with the Army.

As the Terriers were preparing for their Week 2 game this season, Henry was deployed to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne.

"Football this season has helped keep my mind occupied and not worry so much," said Mike Empey, who is the line coach for Bellows Falls. "I actually missed the first game of the season as we were seeing him off."

Empey and the other BF coaches have all been wearing an 82nd Airborne unit hat during games to support Henry. Mike spoke to his son via Facebook just prior to Saturday's state championship game in Rutland.

"He was saying how much he misses football," Mike Empey stated, adding that they talk a lot about Bellows Falls and Notre Dame football during their long-distance conversations. "His mom keeps him abreast of what is going on around Bellows Falls."


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