Reedsville High School’s football team has made their way to the WIAA semi-finals, hoping Friday’s game would take them to state.
They’ve competed this season without one of their most valued players after a tragic incident earlier this year.
Jevon Lemke, a 17-year-old Reedsville teen, was pulled under water by a rip current in Fort Morgan Alabama in March.
One of Jevon’s favorite things in the world was playing football and though he’s not here to play with his team, his team has made an effort to play in his memory.
Beyond the uprights, above the icy field and the crowded bleachers is a mother who is watching her son’s football take the field without him.
“It’s heart wrenching, I cry every game,” says Carrie Holton, Lemke’s mother. “Every game, not being able to hear his name, not being able to see him do what he did on the football field… it breaks my heart.”
Before Friday’s game the team was 11-1, a record the team hasn’t seen for years.
“The boys play with heart, the boys play for Jevon, they made that very clear and they make sure that they tell everybody that that’s what they do, so it’s very special,” says Holton.
“It’s just really cool to see all the guys get this far this year,” says Rachel Peterson, Lemke’s girlfriend. “I think that they have a reason this year and that’s why they’ve been working so hard. I know it’d be really nice to be able to run out on the field and give him a hug, but he’s cheering for us.”
Carrie never recovered Jevon’s physical body from Alabama.
But she knows he’s right there on the field in spirit.
“I can hear him, I know what he would say,” says Holton. “I know anytime they did really good, I could hear in my head, I know that he would be screaming on the sidelines. “If they did bad, he probably cuss them out and then the very next play he’s like, ‘come on boys, let’s do this!’ We pray to him every game asking him to help these boys.”