BROCTON, N.Y. (WIVB) - There was a sense of solidarity on high school football fields across Western New York as players paused Friday to remember Damon Janes.
The teen athlete was injured in a helmet-to-helmet hit one week ago. He passed away from his injuries on Monday. All Section VI games Friday night began with a moment of silence in Janes' honor, including at All High Stadium, where the Jamestown Red Raiders faced the South Park Sparks.
The announcer stated, "On behalf of the entire Section VI of the New York State Public High School athletic associated, we offer our deepest condolences and support to the family, friends and classmates of Damon Janes."
A football company from Jamestown called "Team Jock Shop" made 3,000 decals with Janes initials or jersey number and distributed them teams all over the area to put on their helmets in memory of the 16-year-old high school football star.
Buffalo Public Schools Athletics Director Aubrey Lloyd said, "If you notice on the field all of our football players, including our opponents, have decals on the back of their helmets for DJ. Even though this has happened way down south it impacts us up here, we're one big family in Western New York, you know, football, high school we want to pay our respects to that community, that family and like I said, we're one big family and it impacts each one of our student athletes."
In his hometown of Brocton, teammates, friends, family and his classmates gathered to honor Janes by sending 200 Chinese lanterns into the air. The plan had to be re-scheduled until Saturday night due to high winds, but hundreds still gathered, many of whom had attended Janes' wake earlier in the evening.
One person who came out to the event said, "It's so nice that people are recognizing him and I think it's more wonderful that the communities have come together and have been there for each other for everything. That means a lot."
The teen will be laid to rest Saturday morning at Lakeshore Assembly of God in Westfield.
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