Right before local football players across Western New York get ready to compete, a moment of silence will be held and a statement from Section 6 will be read in remembrance of Damon Janes, a Westfield-Brocton football player who died Monday following a hit in last Friday's high school football game against Portville.
Jeff Rabey, President of the New York State Public Athletic Association of Section 6, noted the gesture of remembrance is for all levels of football - including modified, jayvee, varsity and the Monsignor Martin Association.
Before every game, the following statement will be read, "On behalf of the entire Section 6 of New York State Public High School Athletic Association, we offer our deepest condolences and support to family, friends, classmates of Damon Janes, including school communities of Brocton, Westfield and Portville. Please know you're in the hearts of the entire Western New York Athletic Community."
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
This scoreboard at the Brocton Central School football field displayed the late Brocton junior Damon Janes’ football jersey number, 25, as well as his motocross bike number, 711, during a candlelight vigil in honor of the 16-year-old Wednesday evening.
Every year, Rabey and a committee evaluates the safety of all high school sports.
"Rules are constantly reviewed with the key goal in mind of student safety," Rabey said. "Our goal is to protect student athletes the best we can in every sport."
Meanwhile, local teams are putting it upon themselves to remember Janes.
During tonight's Silver Creek game against Gowanda, donations will be accepted.
"When things like this happen, the support is pretty overwhelming," Silver Creek coach Sean Helmer said. "We don't do it for credit. We just want to show support as a football community."
Helmer and the coaching staff also talked to the Black Knights on Monday to get a feel for how the team was coping with the loss.
"We addressed it Monday," Helmer said. "It was more to find out if it was affecting any of our kids. We want them to communicate with us if something is bothering them. We put things into perspective and we put our thoughts and prayers with Brocton, Westfield and the Janes family.
"My thoughts are with (Westfield-Brocton) coach Bob (North)," Helmer continued. "Any help I can be, we are here for them."
Meanwhile, in Fredonia, when coach Mike Marshall heard of the support gathering taking place at Brocton Central School this past Sunday, Marshall informed his team and approximately 20 players attended.
"They have been aware of what's going on and are somber about it," Marshall said of his team. "I talked to them for 10 minutes about what had happened and what's going on."
The Dunkirk Marauders have dedicated the remainder of the season to Janes' memory and will sport a helmet decal with the initials D.J. and the number 25.
To help the Janes family, Dunkirk will hold a chicken barbecue and basket raffle prior to its game tonight against Pioneer. The dinner will run from 4-7 p.m., and will cost $9. Dinners can be picked up at the high school's pool entrance, or by the concession stand.
"They were saddened by the event that happened over the weekend," Dunkirk head coach Tim Majka said of his team. "We had a good talk about it on Monday and they were obviously heartbroken. Some of the kids knew Damon because Westfield-Brocton was down here for our passing league. It's hit everyone hard."
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