WOODLAWN — The lunch line has a special meeting for Franscoise Greer.
That's where Greer has been able to see her four sons — all former or current standout football players at Mount Carmel High School — since 2006, when she started working in the school's cafeteria. While she's been cutting dozens of onions and tomatoes, or setting up food stations with the day's entrees, Greer always has taken time to chat with her boys — Caravan graduates Milton and Brandon, plus senior DeAndre and junior Terrell.
"Their mom makes sure her kids are doing the right things," Caravan head coach Frank Lenti said. "They're all very respectful and very hard working. All the Greer boys have been a joy to have in our program."
Justin Breen says Mrs. Greer stays busy driving all over the Midwest to watch her boys play:
Greer also has driven her children to and from their south suburban home to the all-boys school in Woodlawn every morning.
During the football season, she'll return home after work, then go back to Mount Carmel to pick up her sons after their practices.
"The best part is I get to spend time with them," said Greer, a Gage Park High School graduate. "Most parents, they take their kids, drop them off, and they don't see them and don't know how their day is going. It's just the opposite for me, and I think they like to see me, too.
"I don't embarrass them too much, but I do have to catch myself."
Brandon Greer, who ran for 1,692 yards and 17 touchdowns as a Caravan senior in 2011, said he loved having his mom serve as a daily chauffeur to school.
"It was really neat having her able to drive us to school," said Brandon, who has 17 tackles and two interceptions this season — including one for a touchdown against Purdue — as a junior cornerback at Central Michigan.
Franscoise began her cafeteria shifts during Milton's freshman year. Milton, who rushed for 2,215 yards and 34 TDs in two varsity seasons at Mount Carmel, is now a senior running back at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
"I'm just a proud big brother and happy to see them keep the Greer legacy going in football at Mount Carmel," Milton said.
Both DeAndre and Terrell hope to follow in their older brothers' football footsteps and compete at the collegiate level, but at different positions. Both play on the defensive line.
DeAndre, one of four defensive starters to return from last year's IHSA repeat state champions, reportedly has been offered scholarships by Michigan State, Illinois and Missouri. He and Terrell, who is in the early stages of the recruiting process, also said they'd be intrigued if Central Michigan were to make an offer.
DeAndre and Terrell said their high school choice was never a question.
"I liked watching my older brothers play here; they had so much fun," DeAndre said. "The players were like a family, and I wanted the same thing they had."
The brothers all got their football start as 6-year-olds with the Dolton Bears, who were coached by the Greers' father, Milton Sr., a former offensive and defensive lineman at Alcorn State who is now an operator on the CTA's Red Line. Their competitive nature was formed at an early age and extended to all activities, from video games to workouts. Terrell — the 16-year-old baby of the four-boy family who's six years younger than Milton — said that only made him stronger.
"I had to prove myself a lot," Terrell said. "It made me be able to push through things and stay positive."
Terrell believes that mindset will help the Caravan through a tough start this season. Mount Carmel is 2-3 heading into Friday's 7 p.m. game against Brother Rice at Gately Stadium in Pullman.
Franscoise will attend that game — she's never missed one of her sons' prep tilts — then head to Central Michigan on Saturday for Brandon's homecoming affair against Ohio. It will be the third of Brandon's games she's seen this year, and she's also been to a pair of Milton's.
"My sons have never given me any problems," she said. "I've been very blessed."
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