BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — On Saturday night, a special ceremony happened at the Boardman High School football field. It honored Nicolas Bennett, a local 11-year-old who passed way unexpectedly Sept. 3.
A moment of silence under the lights honored the Struthers Middle School sixth grader and member of the Struthers Little Hardhats.
The Boardman and Struthers Junior Football League played tonight to his memory.
“We play football, we try to tell them it prepares you for life, the ups and downs on the football field, but in all, nothing prepares you for the loss of a child, the loss of a classmate, the loss of a teammate,” said Mahoning Valley Junior Football League president Dean Congemi.
At the ceremony, The Mahoning Valley Junior Football League retired his jersey number zero. Nicolas’s jersey will be given to a member of the Struthers Junior Varsity League each year to keep his memory alive.
“He was goofy, he was your typical kid and really, I know everyone says this, but loved by everybody — his classmates, teachers,” said Little Hardhats president Bob Roddy.
The community started a scholarship fund under the Kristen Fox Foundation to award four scholarships under Nicolas’ name.
“It’s been tough for the Struthers community and the impact its had, we want to pull together, keep Nicolas’s memory alive and support them as a community, as a league. We are all together as one,” Congemi said.
Nicolas’s family said they are beyond grateful for the community support and feel overwhelmed with all the love they have received.