CALEDONIA, Minn. -- Jacob Swindell's interception in the State semifinal game helped seal Caledonia's trip to Friday's Championship. But during the play, Swindell was thinking about his past.
“It's in the back of my mind when I'm playing football,” he said. “I use it as strength and momentum sometimes.”
Swindell grew up in California and moved to Oklahoma when he was four. His parents split. He was taken away and lived in a foster home for six months.
“My mom, I don't really know where she is right now,” Swindell said. “She calls once in a while but she misses my birthday a lot. It doesn't really seem like she cares.”
Jacob's dad eventually regained custody, and he moved with his sister to a mobile home court in Caledonia. Jacob sleeps on a couch in the living room at night.
“When I was growing up, it was always like that. So when I have a chance to sleep in a bed, I do,” Swindell said.
I always tell Jake, don't ever be ashamed of that,” said Caledonia Head Coach Brent Schroeder. “Just be proud of your roots and where you came from and just remember that. Take it as an opportunity in football to get out of there.”
“One of my buddies, he's got a beautiful home and stuff like that,” Swindell said, “I want to have a beautiful home like him someday like his parents have for him.”
Swindell lifts himself through football, but even that hasn't come without it's rough patches. Last season, he was suspended for the first two games for an athletic code violation.
“Substance abuse, drinking smoking, it doesn’t matter,” said Schroeder.
“I think I was taking it out on how my life's been and stuff like that,” Swindell said.
So Brent Schroeder turned into far more than just a head coach.
“He's kinda like my Dad in a way,” Swindell said. “Coach Schroeder is kind of like a second father.”
But nothing would mean more to Swindell than to three-peat as a State champion, for his real dad.
“I would probably give my Dad a big hug. Rough in the past, but he's came through as a father. And I love him.”