As the remnants of a large Parents’ Weekend crowd silently observed from the bleachers and two Bates flags waved at half staff behind him, Kelton led players and coaches from both teams in a prayer for the Bobcats’ fallen teammate, Troy Pappas, and the Bobcats themselves.

“We wanted to recognize that we know that their family is hurting, so we said a prayer,” Kelton said after Bates’ 33-6 win.

Pappas, 18, passed away Friday, from injuries suffered in a fall in a stairwell in Parker Hall. The freshman from Eliot and Marshwood High School three-sport star was a wide receiver for Bates.

The emotion-filled game, played in front of members of Pappas’ family, came at the end of a week-long ordeal that saw players keeping a constant bedside vigil during Pappas’ stay at Central Maine Medical Center.

Players said the past week has been as much about supporting each other as Pappas and his family.

“The freshmen were all really close with Troy, and we were trying to be there for them all week,” said senior running back Teddy Downs.

Upperclassmen looked after their teammates the way Pappas looked after his teammates, some of whom he helped tutor, players said.

“It’s never easy going through something like that, but what makes it easier is having a family like we have,” freshman cornerback Michael Lee said.

“We have 70 guys and I think we all leaned on each other this week,” senior running back and captain Patrick George said.

Junior slot back Ryan Curit of South Portland said he had a special bond with his former SMAA rival.

“He was always positive, always had a smile on his face. He always brought energy to us,” Curit said. “As a fellow Mainer, he brought another aspect to me that some other kids couldn’t bring. He’s really going to be missed around here.”

Bates began the game with a moment of silence for Pappas. The state’s high school football community also paid tribute to him this weekend with coaches from the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl wearing their Lobster Bowl caps to remember Pappas, who caught a touchdown pass in last July’s all-star game.

Bates teammates and coaches remembered Pappas as a fierce competitor on the field and a friendly, fun young man off of it.

“I actually had the pleasure of defending him during practice. He always gave me a great look, always working hard,” said Lee, who had a key first quarter interception in the end zone Saturday. “When I messed up or he messed up, we just shook each other’s hand, laughed about it and got better.”

“He’s one of the brothers,” Bates coach Mark Harriman said. “He was obviously a great kid. We miss him terribly. Most of his family was here today and they’re such a strong and great family. He was a perfect reflection of that family.”


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