The Great Escape

Amir Muhammad and Josh Mathis take a break from practice at Pierce College. Photo: Mohammad Djauhari
Amir Muhammad and Josh Mathis take a break from practice at Pierce College. Photo: Mohammad Djauhari

Story By: Ashley Walton

For running back Joshua Mathis and defensive back Amir Muhammad this is more than just a quote from their head coach, it’s a promise to themselves.

Both hailing from Philadelphia one may think that they have been lifelong friends. Muhammad, originating from North Philadelphia, and Mathis from Olney merely 15 minutes away, could make this assumption more believable.

Even though they  did not become friends until attending Pierce College they both shared one common interest: football.

For most students, traveling  to attend their dream college remains a dream that seems out of their grasp.

For Mathis and Muhammad, this dream turned into a reality.


Josh Mathis #1


Defeating the odds seems to be one of the main focuses for Mathis.

Being the father of twin girls is also one of his motivations toward accomplishing his goal of becoming a professional football player.

Each week, Mathis has been showing his dedication on the field as he makes his mark on the team. 

Despite the misjudgment made toward Mathis and his size, he has overcome and defeated many challenges.

During the Brahmas’ first home game this season, Mathis scored a touchdown.

“He’s an extremely fast player, but since he’s undersized he’s going to be discriminated against. I told him that the way you get people to not discriminate against you is you go out and perform your best on the field when you can,” Martinez said.

With a beaming smile on his face, Mathis doesn’t look like he has a single care in the world.

However, Mathis says that it can be stressful at times when you have so many things to juggle as a college student. He counts Pierce as a blessing and is grateful to play for the college.

“I knew a lot of friends that was out here already, so this was a good fit from me and so I came out here,” Mathis said.

Having tunnel vision is what takes some of the stress away from Mathis’ life.

“Concentrate on one thing,” he said.

Mathis plans to stick to football.

“I only have a Plan A, that’s it! It’s to get in there and play,” he said.


Amir Muhammad #31


Muhammad mumbles to himself.

“Finish what we started.” This is a promise Muhammad holds very dear to his heart.

A few months ago, his mother lost her 26-year battle with Lupus.

“My mother was everything to me,” he said.

Her unexpected death caused Muhammad to push himself harder.

Gazing down to his wrists are two visible “I Promise” bands. This is a constant reminder of all the promises he made to her.

Muhammad said that he owes it all to his mother, even his interest in Pierce College.

“I had just about given up on football and I told her about an opportunity for me to come out to California and she was excited. Probably more excited than I was actually. Some friends had informed me on the school and I did my own little research and took it back to her and once I did she was sold on it basically,” he said. “She sent me out here on her last dime it was like her last wish basically before she passed and me leaving was actually the last time I saw her alive. So everyday I wake up I remember that I’m not only pursuing my dreams but fulfilling her work – her legacy and repaying a debt I owe her.”

Muhammad also isn’t afraid to showcase his talents on the field.

“Muhammad has great size for a corner; he has the look that most D-1 schools are interested in,” Martinez said.

With his strong athletic ability, it is no surprise that Muhammad is in communication with many D-1 and D-2 schools.

Juggling being an athlete and attending college, Muhammad said, “It is very, very stressful sometimes.”

He said he can feel very overwhelmed but handles it by “not trying to do two things at once.”

Muhammad tries to stick to one thing at a time.

“If you have practice, concentrate on practice. Don’t be at practice worried about a paper,” he said. “If you’re in class, don’t be in class worried about practice. If you’re in meetings worry about meetings. That’s it.”

Being the father of a young son, Muhammad also has to deal with the homesickness. He said that it is hard at times to be away from him but is ecstatic to see his son following in his footsteps of becoming a football player.

In the meantime, Muhammad is focused on finishing what he and his mother started together.