ST. PETERSBURG — As one of Northeast High’s football captains, senior Jacquez Welch was selected to present a framed jersey to the family of former Viking Marquis Scott, who was fatally shot days earlier.
The school paid tribute to Scott, 20, by wearing all white and raising money to aid his family.
Welch continued to do his part during Friday’s game against Osceola. The Vikings’ top playmaker scored on a 60-yard run. He returned on defense the next series, but after a tackle, he did not get up.
Paramedics rushed over. Welch was taken to Bayfront Health, where it was discovered he had severe bleeding on the brain from a pre-existing condition, according to Northeast coach Jeremy Frioud.
Welch is now on life support.
“Jacquez is such an incredible kid,” Frioud said. “He does everything right. Everyone is praying for him. He needs a miracle.”
Welch makes good grades. Earlier in the week, he picked up his first college football offer from Concordia.
And he helped the Vikings (4-0) get off to a perfect start.
Frioud asked his players if they wanted to continue the game Friday.
They all said yes.
“They agreed that’s what Jacquez would have wanted,” Frioud said.
And after the 41-0 win, the entire team visited Welch.
The school has endured other recent tragedies within its football program.
In 2014, defensive lineman Leshawn Williams, then 17, sustained a knee injury on the field that eventually required his right leg to be amputated.
In August of last year, Ruben Marcano, a 14-year-old freshman on the junior varsity team, died in an accident while at home.
“It’s a lot for any team to handle,” Frioud said. “We’re all devastated.”
Contact Bob Putnam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Bobby HomeTeam.