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Students return _ minus one

Days after the shocking death of freshman Chip Stoskopf, the Citrus High School community is trying to carry on without benefit of a logical explanation.

Stoskopf, 14, died Friday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, less than 24 hours after he collapsed apparently from a heart attack during his first play of a junior varsity football game at Lake Weir High School.

Preliminary autopsy reports showed cardiac arrest but gave no evidence for its cause.

And that hasn't made Stoskopf's death any easier for classmates and family to accept.

"I think it's totally unfair," Frank Roberts, 14, a teammate and close friend of Stoskopf, said Monday. "You don't think a child at the age of 14 should die like that. My first feeling was rage. I just wanted to hit someone.

"I didn't believe it. When I was over at (his mother's) house and I was in Chip's room, if Chip had walked through the door I would have believed it."

A few students talked about their feelings with guidance counselors Monday. Having had the weekend to sort feelings made being at school Monday a little easier, Citrus High principal Ed Staten said.

"Friday evening was a much more critical time," Staten said, referring to the Hurricanes' varsity home football game against Clermont, which was the first opportunity for students to gather after learning of Stoskopf's death earlier in the day. "When they got here (Monday) they already knew and had worked through that initial shock."

But Staten took precautions Monday by issuing memos to the faculty alerting them to the emotions and possible reactions students might have.

Two other members of the Citrus High junior varsity football team died in the last 16 months. Paul Schrencengost drowned in June 1991. And in September 1991, Mark Jenkins committed suicide, leaving a note that said he was despondent over not being able to play sports because of a broken arm sustained in a JV game.

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