The Harrison High School football team returned to the field Monday. This time, without number 63. Fermin Vialpando collapsed and died during the Harrison Homecoming game on Friday. Almost the entire team was out on the field practicing because they knew they had to, for Fermin.
For the first time since Friday night, when Fermin Vialpando played his very last game, the Harrison High Football players return to the field.
"I had a pretty rocky start today, he was just on my mind, i just couldn't get him out." says teammate Christopher Burris.
But as practice progressed, the players say, it got better, because now there's someone to be working hard for.
"We're going to keep working hard, we're going to do a lot this season, just for him." says teammate Chris Hinojosa.
Working hard for Fermin, who loved the game, that he died playing.
"On the football field, he was one of the hardest football players out there, he was hurt a lot, but he'd keep playing."- Chris Hinojosa.
But football wasn't his only passion. He also worked hard in the kitchen. He had a dream of opening his own restaurant. Dreams may have shattered when Fermin died Friday, but the Harrison High School football team hasn't.
"We've all suffered the same loss, all feeling pretty much the same thing." - Chris Hinojosa
A pain, that they say, will only make them work harder. Just like Fermin would.
"The tribute is playing hard, we'll do everything we can to honor his memory," says Coach Shawn Mitchell.
"Here and out, everything is for him, win or lose, its for him." - Chris Hinojosa.
The team also plans on putting decals on their helmets in Fermin's memory. This season is dedicated to him.
There has been a memorial fund set up in Fermin's honor. Donations can be made to any UMB bank.