Playing with heavy hearts: Linden HS football team dedicates game to fallen teammate

The football team at Linden High School was back on the field Saturday for the first time since teammate Xavier McClain died of a head injury suffered two weeks ago.

News 12 Staff

Sep 24, 2022, 10:07 PM

Updated 626 days ago

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The football team at Linden High School was back on the field Saturday for the first time since teammate Xavier McClain died of a head injury suffered two weeks ago.
The Linden Tigers took to the field and dedicated the game to McClain, who died on Wednesday. Saturday's game was scheduled to be played on Friday but was postponed to the afternoon.
The game started with a moment of silence to honor the memory of the teen who suffered the injury in a game against Woodbridge High School. Parents who attended the game, many with children who are Xavier's teammates, said the players played with heavy hearts.
Since the 16-year-old's death, many are sharing words of comfort and support to the teen's family and the Linden community, including the New York Jets.
Outside the football field, a makeshift memorial was set up as friends and family gathered to remember McClain.
McClain's biological father, Jose Perez, was visibly shaken as he talked about his son.
"My son had that heart, and that's what kills me," Perez said.
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, who is personal friends with the teen's adopted parents, Norman and Lisa McClain, told News 12 New Jersey that both are distraught.
"Norman and Lisa are going through a tremendous amount of pain right now and we are just there as a family, me and my family, are there for them to try and help them through this most difficult time," Armstead said.
The school board president told News 12 New Jersey the school was scheduled to have an open house this upcoming week. That will be postponed to allow students and their families to attend services for McClain, which will happen later this upcoming week.


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