‘He would love it’: Donadrian Robinson’s family reacts to tribute from W.J. Keenan High School

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 12:12 AM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia paid tribute to a fallen member of its football family on Friday night.

Rising senior Donadrian Robinson, known to family and friends as Donnie, passed away suddenly last Saturday.

The school held a ceremony before Friday’s game against Dreher, its first of the season. They presented his family with flowers and his jersey and observed a 72 second moment of silence in his honor. Robinson wore number 72 for three seasons.

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Robinson’s sister Baylee said the outpouring of love and support made her feel good to know “everybody knew the Donnie that I knew.

“He loved everybody,” she said. “So he would really be smiling some more at the support that we’re getting here tonight. He would love it.”

Teammates and coaches donned “Do It for Donnie” t-shirts, and banners were hung throughout the stands in his memory as well.

A stalwart presence on the Raiders offensive line, Robinson was set to be a four-year starter on the varsity team.

“His father was a football player for Lower Richland and he was following through his shoes to live in his father’s dream,” said Kwome Heyward, Robinson’s cousin.

Heyward said Robinson was like a son to him.

Fellow offensive lineman Chase Mitchell told WIS that his friend was “a light in a dark room.”

Another one of Robinson’s relatives, Bishop Franklin Porterfield, asks the community to continue to lift his family up in prayer.

“Donnie’s a Christian and he’s a believer, and we have very strong faith that we’ll see him again,” he said. “And the emotions are there. We’re sorry that he’s not here with us such at a young age and life to be taken at 17. And that just lets you know that you gotta appreciate people while they’re here because you never know. So the emotion is strong, I drove five hours just to get here today to make sure that we have support because we believe in family.”

This is the second tragedy to strike the Columbia high school football community in recent weeks. Dutch Fork High School senior Jack Alkhatib collapsed and died after football practice last week. Alkhatib’s mother, Kelly, sent a message of support to the Raider community on Twitter, saying she grieves with them.

WJ Keenan Athletic Director Sean Gilley, who had known Robinson since 8th grade, said he ordered decals with his number for the team to wear for the remainder of the season.

The school is also putting together a donation drive for his family.

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