Denison freshman football team remembers teammate with symbolic play

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SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) -- The Denison freshman football team took to the field Thursday night, without a beloved teammate.

After nearly a year long battle with leukemia, kicker Zach Alvarez died this past weekend.

"One man short in the formation, but he forever will be in the hearts and minds of Yellow Jacket fans," the announcer said during the football game.

In the video from Thursday night's freshman football game, you can see the Denison players preparing to kick an extra point after their touchdown, without their kicker.

"They snapped the ball, and one of the players held the ball like Zach would kick it," Zach's friend Carson Baugh said.

"We just acted like Zach kicked it," Zach's teammate Seth Fulenchek said.

A moment of silence followed by the Sherman Bearcats allowing an honorary point, without the ball ever being kicked.

"That extra point was made by Zach Alvarez."

All to remember the life of 14-year-old Zach Alvarez.

"It felt nice cause the Sherman kids didn't rush or anything, they were okay with it," Fulenchek said.

"Kind of a hard thing to do in the middle of the game, but it makes you really put it into perspective what the game means and someone's life," Denison freshman football coach Brent Bollinger said.

Zach's freshman teammates and coach said he was known for his big smile, motivational spirit and his commitment to his team.

"He was just one of those kids a coach dreams of, you don't have to tell him twice," coach Bollinger said.

"You want to memorialize him and what he did and how he treated other people, so to do that was really nice," Fulenchek said.

Sherman and Denison put aside the more than century-old rivalry, to honor a life taken far too soon.

"It shows it's not just a game, it's a family," Fulenchek said.

"Yeah it's a game and it's a big rivalry, but it comes to a point that there's some stuff that's more important," Baugh said.

The play finished with these words by the announcer: "We know Zach is smiling down on all of us. This is a great sign of sportsmanship and a great reminder of how this is much more than a game."