There’s a lot of pressure that goes with having a famous relative.
For Charles “Trey” Peterson, whose father, uncles and older brother were all professional athletes, he’s almost expected to be an all-star.
Peterson takes that pressure in stride.
Ever since Peterson set foot at Spring Valley High School, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive end has been devouring quarterbacks like kids with Halloween candy. His highlight reel shows him shredding blocks, seeing through trick plays and running down quarterbacks.
In December 2020, Peterson was named to the South Carolina Football Coaches Association’s All-State Team for Class 5A.
But just as Peterson was starting his senior year, his father, Spring Valley assistant football coach Charles Peterson, died of COVID-19.
“Truthfully, I haven’t had too much time to grieve and take a break because a series of unfortunate events kind of occurred because when he died,” 18-year-old Peterson said. ”It was at the start of school, the start of my last football season. I was still looking for colleges. I was doing SAT work. I was doing a whole slew of things, and kind of all those distracted me from all the sadness in a way. I’m still healing a bit, but I’m doing better.”
Both Petersons were more than just good athletes, said Spring Valley head football coach Robin Bacon. They also looked out for the people around them, Bacon said.
“The guy gave everything,” Bacon said of Charles Peterson Sr. “If a kid needed something, he’d go get it. If they didn’t have something to eat, he’d go get it. A kid needed a pair of cleats, you know. And with his connections, he was able to get stuff.
“Trey is the mini version of his dad,” Bacon said. “Just anything you needed, he was willing to do it, just a super guy.”
Ed Shropshire, a former Seattle Seahawks player who coaches at Spring Valley, said he calls Trey “the anchor, because when I turn around, you see him pulling other people up.”
“I’m going to use Michael Jordan as an example. The teams that played against MJ, they played to stop MJ. For Trey on defense, they designed their offense to stop Trey,” Shropshire said.
Each year he played at Spring Valley, Peterson kept growing as both a player and a leader, Shropshire said. Throughout that time, Peterson looked up to his father.
“If he walked into the room, everything changed,” Peterson said of his father. “The whole atmosphere changed. He had a presence on him. Whenever you would go to a football game, baseball game, he would always coach in some way, and people would always listen. He had an aura on him. You just wanted to be around him, you know?”
Peterson was born in Canada but moved to America when he was in middle school for better opportunities, he said. He plans to attend a four-year college and join the football team. He is still waiting on the results of his SAT testing, but he is hoping to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. From there, he either wants to go into video game design or work at the CIA, he said.
“He’s a remarkable kid. He went though a lot losing his dad right before the season,” Bacon said. “He’s always been real positive around the kids, and I think this team just wrapped him around their arms during the season with everything that was going on.”