KLAMATH FALLS -- After a semester of high school in Kansas City, Trey Lopez knew he had to get out or he would never reach his potential on the gridiron or the basketball court.
"There were drug deals, police coming to arrest family members, fights," Lopez said, "It was things that a 14-year-old shouldn't be seeing."
Trey had to figure out where to go and how to convince his mom to let him. Vickey Lopez, his mother, has dealt with alcohol addiction and was reluctant to let her youngest of two sons leave. Finally, Trey was able to get through to her.
"I finally convinced her and let her know this was going to be the best thing for me," Lopez said.
She knew someone in Klamath Falls and Trey moved there, attending Klamath Union High School the remainder of his freshman year. For the past three years, though, Lopez has starred in football and basketball at Mazama High School. Since moving west, he's bounced around different homes in Klamath Falls. He has lived his senior year with a youth mentor, Drew Crawford.
"We'd get up at 5:45 every morning and we'd run sprints, parachutes, ladder drills," Crawford said, "We'd go to the gym to lift weights after that, then he'd be in the gym shooting jumpers and be at football practice at night."
All that work he puts in comes down to one person: his mom.
"She's living alone working three jobs, and she's really my role model," Lopez said, "The reason I do what I do and grind so hard is because of her."
In turn, his mother has worked on her alcohol addiction and Trey said it's not a problem when they talk on the phone anymore. What has been a problem is not looking up at his biggest fan in the stands for any of his high school career in the Klamath Basin.
"Not being able to see her in the stands and have her come down to congratulate me has always been really tough on me," Lopez said.
After almost four years without seeing her son, though, Lopez's mom is coming to Klamath Falls to see him graduate. With diploma in hand, Lopez should have options for college basketball and/or football.
"That'll be an amazing moment, because I'm a momma's boy. I've always been a momma's boy," Lopez said.
While reflecting on his unconventional journey and all that potentially lies ahead with college athletics, Lopez thinks back to something Mazama head football coach Vic Lease once told him.
"He told me, 'Don't feel sorry for yourself, because where you're going to be in the future will pay off.'"
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