JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Friday nights are a time when local high school students gather around the football field and cheer on their favorite teams. But when Sandalwood and Wolfson take the field, they'll have a little extra on their minds. Each school will be playing for a win, while dealing with great loss.
Wolfson student Janay Jackson was killed last week when a van crashed into her house. And Sandalwood teacher and coach James Belyea died this week from injuries he received in a traffic crash.
Sandalwood Senior DeMarcus Walker said, "Every Friday, we're going to war, for him." He and his teammates will be playing to honor Coach Belyea. A man who was more than just a teacher, Belyea was a man who they considered a mentor and a friend. Sandalwood Senior Blake Nugent said, "He was like a brother to me. More of a best friend. Not so much a teacher."
Meanwhile at Wolfson, the sign in front of the school says Janay Jackson will live on in their hearts. The halftime show will be dedicated to the 17-year-old drum major, who had dreams of becoming a nurse. They're two schools, mourning two tragic losses. And tonight, each team takes the field to remember a classmate and a coach, taken too soon.
Services are planned for Belyea and Jackson this Saturday. A celebration of life for Belyea will happen at 11am at the Southpoint Community Church. And funeral services for Jackson begin at 5pm at the Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home on Hendricks Avenue.