MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – For those who knew and loved 15 year old Jordan Edwards, sorrow has never been farther than a memory away.
“It was almost over the last year and a half kids would catch themselves when they were enjoying something or having a good time, and it would just hit ’em,” says Mesquite High Head Football Coach Jeff Fleener.
The guilty verdict in the trial of Roy Oliver, the former Balch Springs police officer who opened fire on the car that Jordan was riding in as he left a house party last year, has brought relief. “You saw smiles that we hadn’t seen,” says Coach Fleener.
But, the emotional impact of Jordan’s loss among his teenage friends and teammates has been huge.
“Whenever school lets out, I would always go over to his house… and on weekends we would spend the night with each other. I don’t have that no more,” says teammate Dewayne Adams, Jordan’s best friend. Dewayne is quiet and soft spoken– and yet the pain of his loss still screams.
“I don’t have anybody to text with no more, as much as I did with him.”
As the season gets underway, Dewayne will have the honor of wearing his friend’s Number 11 jersey. (Jordan’s stepbrother wore the jersey last season).
Dewayne says the honor means “a lot, because I’m going to do what he used to do, and what he could have done… on the varsity level.”
“And then from there on out, we really want to have it be something that you have to earn your way to wear number 11,” says Coach Fleener. “It’s going to be a special number at Mesquite High School. You’re going to expected to carry on that tradition.”
In the Mesquite Skeeters fieldhouse, Jordan’s locker has been left untouched–except as a place for mementos to gather. The entire team will wear his initials on their helmets.
“It’s funny how often you’ll notice a kid, touch it, or be looking at it,” says Coach Fleener, “or just that last thing they look at as they’re putting their helmet on, and you can tell that it still weighs heavy on them.”
Still, day-by-day, play-by-play, they must move forward: some days grieving, others healing, promising to remember the one who always wore a smile.
“Because he was an important person,” adds Dewayne. Indeed.