AURORA, Ohio - Aurora High School football players will wear "57" stickers on their helmets for Friday's playoff game to honor Paul McGhee, the varsity football player who died in a single-car accident in Aurora on Thanksgiving.
McGhee's number was 57. The sophomore was a reserve defensive end and offensive lineman. He was also a starter on the special teams squad.
Coaches, friends and parents are also planning to wear white ribbons with the number 57 on them.
According to Aurora police, 16-year-old Paul McGhee was driving westbound on Winchell Road when his car drifted left of center, returned back to the lane he was originally in. He then drove off the road and hit a tree on the driver's side of his Saturn Vue.
Aurora police received a call from a resident of Winchell Road at 1:20 p.m. Thursday who told police that a car had hit a tree in front of her house. When police and fire arrived at the scene, they found McGhee dead in the car. His football team, the Aurora High School Greenmen, had practiced that morning.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted in the investigation.
Aurora coach Bob Mihalik said McGhee's parents told school officials that their son would have wanted the team to play in the semifinal game. Mihalik said the team will honor the sophomore by wearing special black jerseys they normally don once a season.
"Talked to the parents and the parents' wishes were that we would play and the team decided they would like to play, too," Mihalik said.
Counselors were at the high school on Friday to help students with their grieving and will return to the school on Monday.
Classmates and coaches described Paul as a teen who was always smiling and lived life to the fullest.
"It's pretty hard to believe. It really hasn't set in for, I don't think, anyone yet. We still think that it's a nightmare, that we're just gonna wake up," said Aurora High School sophomore Adrien Helmeth.
The Greenmen take on the Avon Eagles on Friday night in Parma.
Calling hours for McGhee will take place Sunday, Nov. 27 from 2 to 5 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Aurora High School. The funeral service will begin at 5 p.m. at the gym. A private burial service is scheduled for Monday.
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