FOUNTAIN – The Kansas City Chiefs have spent the better part of a decade breaking the hearts of football fans in Colorado. But for a morning, a former Chief helped lift the spirit of a deserving Colorado football player.

Myles McClarity has been through more adversity than any teenage kid should ever have to deal with. He loves football and he loves battling on the gridiron for 48 minutes of regulation.

But a leukemia diagnosis in Dec. 2021 put him into a battle that was going to matter for the rest of his life. He has since done what he has needed to do and is on track to suit up with the Trojans for Week 1 of the 2023 season. His senior season of high school football.

“It’s always special strapping it up in Week 1,” McClarity said. “But this season, even stepping on the season for summer workouts is different. Nothing can prepare me for Week 1.”

How about a chat with former Chief Alex Okafor?

Okafor has spent nine seasons on NFL rosters, spanning those years with the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.

He claimed a Super Bowl championship with the Chiefs when they beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. But leukemia is something that Okafor understands. The disease has touched his life in a way that it has affected so many others.

“I was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 when we won that first Super Bowl and right after that Super Bowl win, my mom got diagnosed with AML, acute myeloid leukemia,” Okafor said. “She ended up passing away from that. And ever since that happened, I just wanted to use my resources and get involved and positively affect peoples’ lives and leave a legacy for my mom the way she left a legacy for me.”

Working the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Okafor is part of the Survivor Scholarship Program which grants awards to cancer survivors. When going through essays for this year’s honors, he couldn’t help but notice the selflessness of a defensive back at Fountain-Fort Carson High School.

“Myles’ story touched me so much that of the 105 kids that received a scholarship, I wanted to come down here and personally present it to him,” Okafor said. “[I wanted to] converse with him, get a feel for him and get to meet. I’m blessed to be in this position and I’ve had a great time already.”

After McClarity’s diagnosis, he started a foundation called Mission6Strong to help others facing the same kind of fight. It was an act born from a team mentality that he has adopted from football.

Everyone has the same goal so there’s no need to try and accomplish it alone.

“Seeing that, it really touched me,” Okafor said. “For him to be in that situation and to think of positively affecting other people and not just thinking of himself, that really touched my heart and might’ve sealed the deal for me.”

McClarity unintentionally tugged at Okafor’s heartstrings. The former Chiefs edge rusher saw firsthand the toll that battling leukemia can take. To see a young football player, a teenager, take on that fight for himself while keeping an eye on others around him made him an easy choice for the $7,500 award.

Football and athletics have a weird way on drawing attention to adversity that others face on a daily basis. McClarity was mindful of that as he saw the attention drift his way after his diagnosis.

Turning that attention into a force of good for others wasn’t just a desire. He felt he had a responsibility to rally around others.

“Fighting my own fight is important,” McClarity said. “Seeing how much attention my story got, I know that not everybody gets that. Not everybody gets the attention nationwide that I’ve gotten. For me to be able to help those people by starting my (foundation) in my community and hopefully eventually having something like Alex has and reaching thousands of people who are going through what I’ve been through is really important to me.”

High school football is one of the biggest bedrocks for life lessons. Too often it can seem as benign as just having to manage time or continue to fight when a team is down by multiple scores. Kids aren’t allowed to quit in the middle of a football game.

McClarity has taken that mindset and applied it to an avenue in life that a lot of people will never truly understand. It hasn’t just made him a better football player or teammate. He’s a better overall human for facing a cancer battle head-on and still keeping others in his thoughts along the way.

“He’s never complained and he’s never had a mindset of ‘oh woe is me,'” Trojans coach Jake Novotny said. “He’s taken it full stride and rolled with the punches. And he’s gotten better.”

And he’s now on track to take his rightful place alongside his teammates when they open the football season against Falcon. In the last season he played, McClarity totaled 74 tackles and had three interceptions. That was when he was an innocent sophomore.

As a senior who has beaten cancer?

There’s not a pocket-passing quarterback in the country that can scare him in 2023.

(Dan Mohrmann/