MOWEAQUA, Ill., (WCIA) — Friday night football fever is back, and for one team in Moweaqua, it’s bittersweet. 

After the band played the national anthem, the team and fans gathered in a moment of silence. It honored the four boys involved in a deadly car crash about a month ago. 

Before the game kicked off, the team’s photographer led the athletes in prayer. He encouraged them to play and lead with strength. It all happened in front of a new banner that football parents helped put together–honoring teammate Connor Rowcliff. 

He passed away in the car crash not far from the school. He was on the way to school with three others to lift weights with the team.

As they made their way to the field, the team walked hand-in-hand behind the fire truck displaying the banner.

They played with the boys’ initials and numbers on their helmets. It’s one small way they’ll make sure the boys are always with them. 

Charlie Brown, Central A&M’s principal, said the entire community is a team, not just the athletes on the field. 

“We pull together and we take care of each other. That’s been our theme for this school year,” Brown said. “We will take care of each other and we will do what it takes to have each other’s back, to help overcome, and to be there to make sure we can make this the best year it can possibly be.”

He added that the teachers and staff members have been focused on their student’s social and emotional health this school year. He thinks being back in the classroom and around one another regularly helps the students. 

Many were also wearing black “Raider Strong” wristbands. The Support Local Organization of Macon County and the 217 ALZ Backyard Wiffle Ball Classic Group helped organize a fundraiser with the wristbands.

They said they’ve raised thousands of dollars for the families and will present a check to them in private. They also plan to make a donation to the team for more gear to honor the lost teammates.