PIGGOTT, Ark. (KAIT) - Only a short three weeks ago, Piggott High School football player Hunter Midkiff died from heat-related injuries.
On Friday, the Mohawk football team won 12-0 in their first game since his passing.
Pregame ceremonies honoring Hunter’s parents were held Friday evening.
Head Coach Michael Harrell and members of the Piggott team knew it would be emotional, but they said they were going to give their all for Hunter.
They say it has been a challenge to prepare for the season knowing that their teammate and friend isn’t physically there with them.
“Everybody loved him,” junior quarterback Tanner Dixon said. “We’ve all came together pretty good, it’s made us stronger, made us closer, it’s a tragedy but I think something good is going to come out of it.”
“It’s going to be hard and we’re going to get through it, but the main thing is we’re going to play for him,” offensive lineman Kyson Conley added.
After Hunter passed away in mid-August, players, coaches, and the Piggott community all came together to support each other in a time of grieving.
Teammate and close friend Logan White says preparing for the game is hard, but he says the team is playing every down like Hunter would play it.
“We prepare like normal practice, except we know now we’re playing every play like he’d play it,” White said. “[He gave] full effort [and] everything, give it your all.”
White wore Hunter’s number 56 for Friday’s game. He says the number reminds him of what Hunter stood for: family, friends, and football.
Coach Harrell says he has been overwhelmed by the love the team has received.
“This whole town, Hunter’s family, they just wrapped their arms around everybody,” Coach Harrell said. “The community wrapped their arms around Hunter’s family, Hunter’s family wrapped their arms around these boys, and these boys have wrapped their arms around us coaches and there’s just one heartbeat right now.”
Coach Harrell says this season is for Hunter.
“God’s going to write something special,” he said. “He’s writing a story right now that’s going to be told for a long time, how these boys have come together for one young man.”