Alberta football players remembered at game
The Warriors football team fights through grief to win their playoff game
It was not an ordinary game day for the Grande Prairie Composite High School football team as they stepped on the field Saturday for a playoff game.
The home crowd came to cheer the Warriors but their grief after losing four of the team’s players in a highway crash last weekend was still raw. The teens were killed when their car was hit by an alleged drunk driver.
"It has just been overwhelming," Lana Raven, whose nephew Tanner Hildebrand, 15, was among the dead, told CBC News. "My sister has been doing well, and I think it’s because all of the support."
Matthew Deller and Vincent Stover, both 16, and Walter Borden-Wilkins, 15, were also killed. A fifth teammate, Zach Judd, remains in a coma at an Edmonton hospital.
Judd's aunt, Shelley Judd, said there has been no change in his condition, "but you know what, every day that he lies there and sleeps he's fighting and as long as he fights we are going to fight for him."
Warriors win in their teammates' honour
Over the past two days funerals were held for each of the teens. In between services, the football players prepared for their big playoff game. The Warriors linked hands as they walked on to the playing field Saturday.
"It’s been pretty rough," said Tanner’s sister, Raven Hildebrand. "Losing my brother hit me pretty hard but like the Warriors say, you have to fight on."
There was a moment of silence during the game, but after that the cheering began and didn't stop as the Warriors rolled to an easy 40-0 victory in front of a few thousand fans. Normally, the Warriors draw a crowd of a few hundred.
Tyrone Pike volunteered time all week making T-shirts for the game to raise money. The shirts — orange with a large W in the middle for the football team's name — sell for $10.
"We are working around the clock non-stop. We've printed 1,500 T-shirts so far, and we're looking at printing another 1,500 here," he said earlier in the week.
"We've asked a couple of local businesses to donate some money to help us front the cost of the T-shirts, and then whatever's left over is going towards the foundation and being split up between the families of the boys that were in the accident."
Shelley Judd said she volunteered to sell the T-shirts at the game.
"They have sold thousands of them — even some on the opposing team are wearing orange," she said.
And they're not the only ones showing support.
The Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos plan to wear the Warriors logo on the back of their helmets for their final two regular season games.
More people are expected to come out Sunday when a community-wide memorial is held for the teens.
On Monday, Brenden Holubowich, 21, of Grand Prairie will appear at the town's provincial courthouse on 11 counts related to the collision, including impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene.