ARVADA, Colo. -- The Poudre High School football team from Fort Collins played in the first round of the playoffs Friday night, less than 24 hours after their teammate and his mother were killed in a car crash. The game was in Arvada against Pomona.
Both Josh Cortez and his mom Kelly Cortez died at the scene of the crash in Fort Collins Thursday night..
The team did talk about not playing in Friday's game, but decided to suit up because it's what Josh would've wanted them to do.
The team played their hearts out without a piece of the puzzle, a teammate, friend, and member of the Poudre family.
“We just had a big team dinner, it was packed, and it was fun and festive," Lisa McVicker parent and wife to the head coach said. “To get news like that was heartbreaking, to lose somebody that was that big of a part of your family.”
“He could put a smile on anyone’s face, he was such a kind hearted guy,” Poudre student Brooks McVicker said.
“He was so well liked by teammates, by coaches, that I think makes it that much harder,” Lisa McVicker said.
The game was about so much more than football. The most powerful moment of the night is when the opposing team walked to the coin toss with a number 66 jersey, in honor of Cortez. Every play, every drive, and every hit on Friday was for Cortez.
“They feel like they want to go out and make him proud,” Lisa McVicker said.
Brooks McVicker also said it was a hard Friday at school. There were a lot of hugs and tears throughout the day as people grieved. There were counselors on hand at school.