Desert Edge football players inspired by coach who’s back after heart surgery

Sep 13, 2023; Goodyear, AZ, USA; KenAndre Jones, Desert Edge football safeties coach, goes over drills with players during practice at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear on Sept. 13, 2023.

Kenandre Brown tosses footballs to his safeties as they run back and swoop in to intercept during a Goodyear Desert Edge football practice. Sometimes, he demonstrated how he wants them to approach the ball.

It’s a repitition and a blessing that he doesn’t take for granted.

Four months ago, the 42-year-old safeties coach was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. While the surgeons were at it, they also repaired a leaky heart valve.

But here he is on a hot, late afternoon making the most of every rep with the players.

“I feel great,” he said. “Happy to be alive. Thank God.”

Brown is a big part of the Desert Edge football family cultivated by the Carter twins, co-head coaches Marcus and Mark, who have always looked at Brown as one of their brothers. Brown has been coaching with the Carter twins since they were at Phoenix South Mountain.

When Mark Carter, who coaches the offense, talks about what Brown has been through, he gets choked up and needs time to compose himself, realizing they were close to losing him.

“He’s like my brother,” Mark said. “That’s my guy. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to him. I know his wife and kids. They’re like my family. Just for him to go through that, the most impressive part is we had to keep him out of here. He was trying to do everything.”

Desert Edge is 2-1 heading into the biggest Friday of the season this week, with The Arizona Republic High School Game of the Week at home against defending 5A champion Gilbert Higley.

But it’s family that runs deeper than football for the Carter brothers and their assistant coaches. And it radiates throughout the…


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