LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Friday night would have been Lewis Simpkins' first game as a Varsity Football player. Although the team is not playing, they will be in the stands in honor of him.
Simpkins' friends and coaches say a big part of them is now gone.
"Not having Lewis is not like, he's like our comedian and whenever somebody was sad or not feeling good he was always there to make a joke or put a smile on your face," teammate Kade Colvin said.
Trying to stay in uplifted spirits, Simpkins' best friends reflect on their favorite memories of the 14-year-old.
"I remember the first time I met Lewis, I instantly shared a passion with him for the love of the game. He ended up becoming a best friend, a teammate, and a brother to me," teammate Noah Johnson said.
"We had this ongoing joke, I'll say don't eat me big fella' and he'll always try and come grab me. He was just one of the greatest people I ever met," teammate Woods Wooten expressed.
"He was a great teammate to have beside me whenever I felt I couldn't go no longer. He was always there like 'Just two more plays,'" Colvin said.
Lewis and his friends were practicing Wednesday night when the defensive tackle collapsed. With no luck, athletic trainers tried to revive him. Lewis died at the hospital.
"At first, I thought Lewis is a big strong dude he'll be alright but it was rough," teammate Sid Segars said.
"I've been a marine, I've been a police officer, I've trained kids for 20 years but I've never seen anything like this," Coach Chris Wooten said.
Chris Wooten coached Lewis at River Bluff High. He says on and off the field, Lewis was an encourager, a leader and loved Christ.
"He was a big man of faith. Actually, after practice on Wednesday, he had packed his clothes and he was going to go, he told his dad he was going to go to praise and worship at church soon as practice was over," Coach Wooten said.
As the team prepares to kick off another season and start school next week, they say Lewis will be with them every step of the way.
"It's going to get hard to get used to but we're going to live out his legacy," Segars said.
At this point, what caused Lewis' death is still unclear. He would've celebrated his 15th birthday next week.