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Sawyer Leavitt was a junior at Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn High School and a line man on the football team. On the field his teammates described him as a force to be reckoned with. Off the field he was a funny man and great friend. So when 16- year old Leavitt was killed in car accident last September, his teammates took it extremely hard.
"It was hard. It was hard to come back and play football... knowing he wouldn't be there," said Andrew Hoefling, fellow teammate.
While something so tragic could have destroyed them, it only made this team stronger. After finishing out the 2011 season with only four wins. The M-M-C Football team came back this year with motivation from above, going undefeated in 20-12.
"It has everything to do with him. He's what drives us. He drove us to lift weights in the off season, starting last October. We knew we could do it for him," said Hoefling.
Before every game, these boys stand together and pay tribute to Leavitt, and it was no different at Thursday night's championship game; taking the field with a helmet in their hands in memory of their lost teammate.
"We've been so blessed this season...and he was definitely a part of it. And I don't think we would be where we are today without him," said Jared Lee, family member and fellow teammate.
This MMC Football Team is not only celebrating an undefeated season, but it's schools first ever 8-man State Title Championship. And while he couldn't be in the huddle celebrating with his team, Leavitt was certainly there in spirit.
"It was just cool to say he was there... we always say he's the 9th man on the team. Everyone knew he was definitely there,"said Reece Jackson, fellow teammate.
Friday night, the boys took to the field and rang the bell in victory, and in honor.