’Win or lose, we play for Trevor,’ Western HS football team pays respects to teammate killed in crash

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RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. — Friday night hundreds of student-athletes will take the field to compete in high school football games across Central Indiana – that is, all but two teams. 

The Western Boone Stars and the Western Panthers. Their game has been pushed back to Saturday so the Panthers can attend a funeral for one of their teammates. 

Trevor Buckley was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Vigo County Saturday, August 21st. 

His teammates say the field they practice on during the week and compete on Friday nights will take on a different meaning Saturday, it’ll become a memorial of sorts. 

“When he went out on to that field on Friday. You could tell that he was having a blast,” Western High School Football Head Coach Alex Stewart said. “He played a heck of a game and when we went back to watch the tape Saturday morning I said hey, we need to get him on the field more. He is ready to go and he’s ready to play.”

Trevor Buckley was 17-years-old, wore number 70 and played defensive tackle and battled on the offensive line. 

He dreamed of playing varsity football for the Panthers. Friday, August 20th he got his chance.

“That’s a good feeling to know that he got to experience that on Friday night,” Stewart said. “He actually came over to the sideline at one point and he told one of our assistants… this is what I needed. I needed to be out here. This is awesome. I missed this last year.”

Last year Trevor skipped football and in-person schooling to stay home and learn virtually is he could be closer to his mother who was battling cancer at the time. 

“That just goes to show you the type of person that Trevor really was. He would do anything for anybody,” Stewart said. “He was a guy that cared deeply about his friends. And he was just a great kid.”

Friends like Senior Captain Hayden Shepherd, who Trevor fished with on occasion when the two weren’t at football practice.

“It really just sucks not having him here anymore,” Shepherd said. “We’re there for each other no matter what. We’ve been there for each other and we’re gonna be there for each other through it all.”

Shepherd and some other close friends took to the field after learning of Trevors passing late Saturday night. They built a sign which now hangs near the field’s entrance, so a piece of Trevor will always be there. 

Saturday, August 28, a week after his death, Trevor will return to the field where his dream was fulfilled – on patches, on helmet decals, and in memory. 

“Win or lose, the objective is to play for Trevor. Do it for Trevor. This was his sport. He loved coming out to play football and we just have to honor that and play every minute for him,” Shepherd said. “It’s more of a reality check that you’re not invincible when you lost somebody that’s the same age as you and somebody you’ve grown up with since kindergarten… it just shows you how fragile life really is,” Stewart added.

Trevor’s funeral will be held Friday afternoon. The game will kick off Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Western High School Football Field along S 600 W in Russiaville.

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