QUEENSBURY - Last Tuesday, the Queensbury community was left in shock after 16 year-old Jonathan Vasiliou died mysteriously of unknown causes. He was a junior at Queensbury High School, and played center for the school's varsity football team. The team played their home opener on Saturday and took the field for the first time without the centerpiece of their offensive line.
"He's our rock, the kid Put it all together, he was the rock for out team and he's greatly missed," said senior running back Alston Moses.
The team held a special ceremony before the game in which they held a moment of silence for Vasiliou. Then members of his family took the field for the opening coin toss, and while Jonathan was physically absent, his spirit could be felt on the field.
A poster of the Spartans formed center was in the stands, his initials were painted on the field and players jerseys, and his number was displayed on his teammates helmets.
But the emotions of the day may have gotten to heavy for Queensbury as they trailed 35-0 late in the second quarter.
Then the team scored one touchdown, and another, and then another.
"The coach gave us a good halftime speech," said Moses. "We had more heart then we were giving out there, we just needed to keep pushing forward and that's how we should have played the whole game."
Shaker ended up beating Queensbury 48-20 but the players say with every touchdown they showed their friend and teammate that they were never giving up in honor of him.
"I felt proud, I felt like I was doing it for him," said Moses. "It was more than just a touchdown for me; it was a statement to him."