Millington Central plays first game without Dana Payne - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Millington Central plays first game without Dana Payne

(WMC-TV) - Some mid-south students honored a fellow classmate tonight.

The Millington Central football team battled Kirby High, in what was Millington's first game without one of their own.

Dana Payne's presence could be felt at tonight's game.  Reminders of the 15-year-old Millington Central football player were almost everywhere.

The memory of Dana Payne from his number 87 on people's faces to signs, make it clear the 15-year-old Millington Central Sophomore will not be forgotten.

"We're going to score 87 points tonight for Dana," said one teammate.

"I got his number just to show respect.  I didn't know him," stated student Kayla Hall.  "I heard he was a good person though.  I just came to support him," she added.

The game between Millington and Kirby was dedicated to Dana.  But other schools like Briarcrest also showed their respect, with his initials in the middle of the football field.

"It means a lot to us. He was my friend," said one player.

Dana Payne died Tuesday after taking a hit at football practice.

A prayer for his family was said over the loudspeaker at the game, as everyone bowed their heads.

"The real hero her is his mother come out like she did," said Kirby Principal Dr. Reginald Williams.

Tameka Smith, Payne's mother, arrived with family and friends who carried a large photo of Dana.

"I would like to thank everyone who came out to the game to support Dana and the Millington Trojans," Smith said.

Tameka Smith, anxious to watch her son's team play, had one last thing to say before going into the stands.

"He may be a local star but he's a big star in my heart. He's a big star," she said.

Friends of Dana Payne told us he was friends with everyone.  Now everyone is remembering him.

Dana Payne's Funeral arrangements are set.  Visitation will be Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Millington, with the funeral Tuesday at 3 p.m. also at First Baptist of Millington.

Burial will follow at Northridge Woodhaven Cemetery in Millington.

A fund has also been set up in Dana Payne's name.  You can donate to the Dana Payne Memorial Fund at any First Tennessee Bank or any First South Credit Union.

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