Posted at: 09/01/2012 11:22 PM
By: by Dan Bazile
QUEENSBURY - The Spartans take to the football field in Queensbury for their first game at home, as they do every year. But this is not just a regular game.
As Greg Huntley, the Queensbury school superintendent explains, "It's an entirely different game. The students know it and the coaches know it."
They know it because one of their players was not on the field with them. 16 year-old Johnathan Vasiliou suddenly passed away on Tuesday. The cause of his death is still unknown. Doctors had suspected it was a bacterial infection like meningitis. However, all tests came back negative.
Vasiliou's family, friends and the entire school community came out to show their support-- turning the game into a tribute for the young football player.
Huntley told us Saturday, "it's a tremendous honor. I think it also helps the healing process with the parents, the students and the school community."
Before the game, we caught up with some of the players, putting a patch on their jerseys with Vasiliou's initials on it. In fact all Queensbury players sported the patch, in addition to Vasiliou's number 54 from last year on their helmets. Shaker, the opposing team, also had what would have been Vasiliou's number this year on their helmets.
Bryce Breault, a teammate of Vasiliou told us, "it's sad. We're playing for him today. Nothing you can really do."
And cheers for the Spartans were bitter sweet as the cheerleaders remember Vasiliou with white bows bearing the players initials.
Daniella Inzerilli, a cheerleader for the Spartans puts it best when she says, "it's hard to adjust to it in such a short time span and have to put together a game and cheerleaders be happy and show our spirits when it's difficult during a time like this."