BYU Blocks SUU Punt On Day ST Coordinator Attends Nephew’s Funeral

Sep 9, 2023, 2:24 PM | Updated: Sep 11, 2023, 1:37 pm

BYU Football, Kelly Poppinga, Blocked Punt...

BYU football special teams coordinator Kelly Poppinga was not in attendance during the Cougars game against SUU. He was in California for a funeral for his nephew. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football special teams came up with a special moment for their special teams coordinator, who is navigating a tragedy in his family.

During the second quarter of BYU’s game against Southern Utah, linebacker Harrison Taggart burst through SUU’s punt team coverage to come up with a block.

BYU football blocks a punt against SUU

It was a big play for a BYU team that only led the T-Birds 6-3 at the time of the block. But it was probably an even more significant moment for BYU’s special teams coordinator Kelly Poppinga.

Kelly Poppinga attended the funeral of his nephew, Julius Poppinga

Poppinga was not in attendance on Saturday for BYU’s game. He was attending the funeral of his nephew Julius Poppinga.

Julius, a 17-year-old high school football player, tragically passed away on August 30 after suffering a severe asthma attack. He’s the son of former BYU star and Super Bowl Champion Brady Poppinga.

“We love Coach Poppinga,” said BYU defensive end Tyler Batty to KSL Sports on the Cougar Tracks Podcast earlier this week. “As a team, we’ve just tried our best to support him and support their family and just show him love at a time like this. That’s not easy. Going through a situation like that, especially smack dab in the middle of your busiest time of the year. Props to Coach Poppinga and we are always here to support him.”

BYU football, NFL showing support for the Poppinga family

The BYU and NFL communities have rallied around the Poppinga family.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe sent a message to Poppinga on X, “BYU Football Family and Cougar Nation. Please keep Brady and his beautiful family in your prayers as they mourn the passing of their precious son Julius after a severe asthma attack. Peace and love to his football teammates at Westlake HS in Thousand Oaks, CA.”

Former Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews III wrote on X, “My good friend and former Packers teammate [Brady Poppinga] and his wife Brooke tragically lost their son Julius last week. I encourage those with any memories of Julius to visit the website below and share in an effort to keep Julius’ legacy alive.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X (Twitter) and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Blocks SUU Punt On Day ST Coordinator Attends Nephew’s Funeral