ASSUMPTION, Ill. (WCIA) — “I think today is all about us coming together as a team, playing as a family, especially with everything that has happened previously this summer,” Gabe Delmendo, a Central A&M student said.
He’s talking about an accident that four Central A&M high school students were involved in earlier this summer.
Three of the students involved in the crash were airlifted to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries, one student, Conner Rowcliff, passed away.
A second individual, Keegan Virden died just days later.
Justin Smith, an art teacher at Central A&M says it took the whole community to help heal the wounds.
“Just like anything, you get a bunch of people from two different towns, you’re not sure how it’s going to work but for some magical reason, Central A&M happened. We are one town, one family,” Smith said.
On the eve of homecoming, the community is once again mourning.
This week, two students were hurt in a crash, one suffered a broken femur, the other had bruises and cuts, but no broken bones.
For Delmendo, this homecoming means even more.
“I think this is a big game for us just to show how much each other, each person means to one another,” Delmendo said.
Rain or shine, those students will always be remembered in the community.
“We carry them with us each game. As you see there will be a jersey out there for conner, it is every game, it will be until the end,” Smith said.
Before Delmendo took the field tonight, WCIA asked him what his thoughts were head of the game.
“I’ll be thinking about them and everything I do out there is going to be for them tonight,” Delmendo said.