Queensbury football player honored at season opener
Just days after his life was cut short by an unknown illness, the Queensbury High School football team honors the life of Johnathan Vasiliou. The football player died suddenly on Tuesday. His teammates played their season opener against Shaker in his honor. Our Matt Hunter has the story.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- "You feel like a part of you is missing, a part of your team, a part of your family, so it was a little tough, it was just different," said Alston Moses, Queensbury Senior Running Back.
The opening game of the Queensbury High School football team's 2012 season will always be one to remember. Not for the lopsided final score and not for the dozens of student-athletes on the field, but for the one player who wasn't there.
"It was just a totally different feel, like, when you lose a fellow brother, there's a weird feeling to it," explained Moses.
Saturday's game against Shaker marked four days since the team's center, Johnathan Vasiliou, 16, died from an illness that is still unknown at this time. With the school year yet to begin, the contest marked the first time since his death that the Queensbury community had come together.
"It's really a celebration of Jonathan's life and I think people are seeing it that way and responding accordingly," noted Douglas Huntley, Queensbury Superintendent.
As fans entered the football complex, they were greeted by an oversized picture of a smiling Vasiliou. Many wrote words of love and hope on a growing memorial graffiti wall. Before the opening kickoff, his parents and siblings lead the Spartan team onto the field.
"It was just a whole lot of emotion. They, just, we kind of had to calm ourselves down, realize it's game time, put our heads down and do our jobs," Moses said.
Huntley said, "The reason they're [family] here is for the team. Jonathan would've wanted them to be here is what they told me. I think it's good they're here, I think it's good for the team they're here, it's part of the healing process."
Physicians have yet to pinpoint the illness that claimed Vasilious's life but have determined there is not a greater health risk to the student body. With those answers still sought, grieving teammates are now left navigating through the highs and lows of a season without one of their own.
"He was our rock, the kid put it all together, he was the rock of our team. He's greatly missed by the whole team, he was a brother to all of us, it was a great, emotional loss," said Moses. "It's going to be hard but we've got to keep moving on."