Before local football players across Western New York get ready to play their respective games this weekend, a moment of silence will be held and a statement from Section 6 will be read in remembrance of Damon Janes, a Westfield-Brocton football player who died Monday from injuries he suffered during the third quarter of last Friday night's game at Portville.
Jeff Rabey, New York State Public Athletic Association Section 6 president, noted the gesture of remembrance is for all levels of football, including modified, junior varsity, varsity and the Monsignor Martin Association.
Before every game, the following statement will be read, "On behalf of the entire Section 6 of New York State Public High School Athletic Association, we offer our deepest condolences and support to family, friends, classmates of Damon Janes, including school communities of Brocton, Westfield and Portville. Please know you're in the hearts of the entire Western New York athletic community."
Every year, Rabey and a committee evaluates the safety of all high school sports.
"Rules are constantly reviewed with the key goal of student safety," he said. "Our goal is to protect student athletes to the best we can in every sport."
Meanwhile, local teams are remembering Janes in their own way.
During tonight's Silver Creek game against Gowanda, donations will be accepted.
"When things like this happen, the support is pretty overwhelming," said Silver Creek coach Sean Helmer. "We don't do it for credit. We just want to show support as a football community."
Helmer and the coaching staff also talked to the Black Knights on Monday to get a feel for how the team was coping with the loss.
"We addressed it Monday," Helmer said. "It was more to find out if it was affecting any of our kids. We want them to communicate with us if something is bothering them. We put things into perspective and we put our thoughts and prayers with Brocton, Westfield and the Janes family.
"My thoughts are with (Westfield-Brocton) coach Bob (North)," Helmer continued. "Any help I can be, we are here for them."
Meanwhile, in Fredonia, Coach Mike Marshall said that when he heard about the support gathering that took place at Brocton Central School last Sunday, he informed his team and approximately 20 players attended.
"They have been aware of what's going on and are somber about it," Marshall said of his team. "I talked to them for 10 minutes about what had happened and what's going on."
The Dunkirk Marauders have dedicated the remainder of the season to Janes' memory and will sport a helmet decal with the initials D.J. and the No. 25.
To help the Janes family, Dunkirk will hold a chicken barbecue and basket giveaway prior to its game tonight against Pioneer. The dinner will run from 4-7 p.m., and will cost $9. Dinners can be picked up at the high school's pool entrance, or by the concession stand.
"They were saddened by the event that happened over the weekend," Dunkirk head coach Tim Majka said of his team. "We had a good talk about it on Monday and they were obviously heartbroken. Some of the kids knew Damon because Westfield-Brocton was down here for our passing league. It's hit everyone hard."