Lost in the snow, the last-second win and everything else associated with Girard’s 22-19 victory over Sharon last night was a poignant moment between two players.
On opposing teams.
Who had never met.
On one side, Girard quarterback Joe Dunn had thrown the game-winning touchdown pass to Bryan Divido with 13.3 seconds left to deal a crushing loss to an emotionally crushed Sharon team.
On the other was Troy Hejazi, the Sharon player who was dropped off 20 minutes before Friday’s fatal accident that killed his two best friends. Hejazi found out his friends were dead when a police officer knocked on his door while investigating the accident.
Dunn sought out Hejazi, a tight end and linebacker, and tried to console him. Hejazi, who slept in teammate Corey Swartz’s No. 9 jersey Sunday night then wore it for the game, cried, as many did.
“Honestly, it brought me to tears — and I don’t even know the kid,” Dunn said. “They had some heart to come out and play today with that tragic accident.”
Here’s Girard coach Jim Funk on Dunn’s gesture:
“We preach character, but it’s one thing to preach it and another to show it. Our kids are high, high character kids. That impressed me more than any ball he threw tonight.”
After spending the better part of Monday around these guys, I can say with confidence that a lot of us would be better served if we were as strong as these kids from Sharon.
Yes, I know speed was likely a factor in the crash, and the driver of the other vehicle died, too. My point isn’t about that.
It’s about those affected, still in high school, who had to confront yet another tragedy in their lives.
And they did one heck of a job.