Barons return to football field after deaths of two players


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- It was a tough night for the DeKalb High School Football team. They hit the field for the first time after the death of two of their players.

17-year-old Derek Padilla and 16-year-old Lucas Oberkizer were tragically killed in a car crash two weeks ago today. After cancelling two games the team took the field Friday night, and everyone vowed never to forget.

“A lot of mixed emotions,” said Matthew Toth, Principal at DeKalb.”A lot of up and downs for our kids and our staff.”

The team considers themselves one big family and best friends. suited up for their first game this season without two of their brothers.

Toth said he is looking for ways to get back to normal after the unthinkable tragedy.

“We’ve cried and mourned and shared memories,” he said. “Now we’ve gotten to a point where we were able to say goodbye. Now we are at a point where we are getting back to normalcy.”

Tributes to the boys were on and off the field. The numbers 78 and 34 painted were on the field. Players wore them on their helmets, too. People in the stands with shirts that said “never forget.” Even people rooting for the other team wore red and black for DeKalb.

Over the last two weeks there has been an outporing of support from all across the area, which is helping them to remain “DeKalb Strong.”

“They bonded together as a team as a family,” said Toth. “It’s also amazing to see the community come out and support us as a family.”

The opposing team- Columbia City- helped raise money for the families of Derek and Lucus. That check was presented to DeKalb’s athletic director tonight at the game.

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