PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Friday was a special night at the Pascagoula High football stadium. Instead of the cheers and excitement that normally begin a Friday night football game, there was silence. It was a time to remember two teammates who died at the beginning of summer.
Caleb Sweeten and Brandon Rich were killed in a knee-boarding accident in late May. Rich was a senior at Pascagoula and an accomplished athlete having played both football and basketball. Sweeten would have been a junior this year, and playing on that field on Friday had his life not been cut short.
The night began with a moment of silence to remember Brandon Rich and Caleb Sweeten.The two are still missed by their classmates, so much that a group of students painted "Rich & Sweet" on their chests in memory of them.
One of the guys with his chest painted was, Jimmy Fondren, friend of Caleb Sweeten. He was a pallbearer at Sweeten's funeral three months ago. Fondren said it still feels like it was yesterday that he passed away.
"It's everyday you think about it. It's something that never leaves," said Sweeten.
Caleb Sweeten wore number 39 and Brandon Rich wore number 8, their teammates wanted everyone to remember that so stickers adorned the Panther's helmets. There was also a black line painted on the 39 and 8 yard lines.
The panther's athletic trainer is Joe Davis. He said the boys will forever hold a special place in the hearts of their teammates and the entire community.
"This city came together both black and white for that one cause and this is a testament of Brandon and Caleb. I feel that God chose them for a reason and this city is showing that by the way we've rallied together," said Davis.
As the team took the field their heads were bowed. Some of them even pointed toward the sky, reminding everyone who they are playing for this season.