Riverdale Warrior overcomes heartbreak on path to title game - WKRN News 2

Former Riverdale Warrior overcomes heartbreak on path to title game

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Crimson Tide long-snapper Carson Tinker graduated from Riverdale High School in 2007. Crimson Tide long-snapper Carson Tinker graduated from Riverdale High School in 2007.
Tinker's girlfriend was killed in the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa last April. Tinker's girlfriend was killed in the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa last April.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

While much of the South will be yelling "Roll Tide" during Monday's national championship game, Alabama fans in Murfreesboro will be cheering especially loudly.

One of their own will take to the field after a difficult journey.

Crimson Tide long-snapper Carson Tinker graduated from Riverdale High School in 2007.

He began his college career as a walk on and as a sophomore, earned a spot on the starting lineup.

Everything changed for Tinker on April 27, 2011.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama was in the bull's eye of a deadly storm system that wreaked havoc on the South and Midwest.

Fifty-three people died in Tuscaloosa alone, including Tinker's girlfriend.

Twenty-two-year-old Ashley Harrison was ripped from his arms and died instantly when the two were thrown about 100 yards from the closet inside Tinker's house.

He escaped with a broken wrist and a concussion.

"He'll carry that for the rest of his life," said Ron Aydelott, Carson's former coach at Riverdale High School.

"Football parallels [life] and when you have situations like that, you have to learn how to get up and there was a reason things turned out like they did. He was spared and he'll do something great with that," Aydelott continued.

Tinker already has.

He earned a full scholarship this year.  He accepted the Disney Spirit Award on behalf of his team, and of course, he already has one national championship ring.

Sunday night, Tinker tweeted, "How you respond to the challenge, not the challenge itself, will define the outcome."

No. 2 Alabama takes on No. 1 Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game Monday night at 7 p.m.

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