Jhevontae Davis was supposed to battle under lights one day. But the 14-year-old on Oscar Smith’s junior varsity team died after having trouble breathing at practice Wednesday right after stretching.
“Me looking at the football team, I imagine that he’s supposed to be with that, with the team, but now he’s not,” said his friend and neighbor Taylor Webber.
One of his teammates on the JV team honored him by wearing his number 63 jersey as he patrolled the sidelines as the ball boy for the game.
On the fence near the end zone, cups in yellow and blue spelled out 63 inside a red heart.
Cheerleaders and members of the step team painted it on their cheeks.
“I didn’t believe it, like it was too much to hold in basically,” said Davis’ friend Lorna Whitfield. “It was overwhelming.”
The team put his jersey on their bench, and lifted their helmets to the crowd in solidarity.
Before kickoff, the tigers’ host, Deep Creek, wanted to make sure Davis was properly remembered.
With their heads bowed, right before battle their focus was somewhere else. Not on getting the first down, or tackling the running back, but on the loss of one of their own who teammates and friends describe as a joy to be around on and off the field.
“He was a really nice guy,” Webber said. “He was pretty positive on life.”
One that sadly will never get the chance to play under Friday night lights.