EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — Jaxon Kocher was a teammate on the field and more than a friend off the field. A three-sport athlete Jaxon played football, basketball and baseball at Eaton Rapids High School.
On Dec. 27, 2020, Jaxon's dad got the worst phone call a parent could get.
"Honestly, I was lost," Seth Kocher said.
Jaxon died in a car crash at 15.
"I was blank to everybody. I didn't know who was who. My mind was wrapping around the tragedy. I told my close friends that you don't know heartbreak until you get that phone call. It was like my heart just left my body," Kocher said.
"You get that call late at night, and every emotion kind of runs through your head, and you start questioning why does stuff like this happen," Eaton Rapids football coach Wayne Dismuke said.
The following season, the Eaton Rapids football staff asked Kocher to help out with the team.
"I don't where I would have been had I not been asked to coach. These kids are my therapy," Kocher said.
This would have been Jaxon's senior season. Each game, the team walks out of the locker with his jersey.
"Every Friday night, I always took a second to myself and talk to him for a second, and it would calm my nerves," senior Domynik Skaggs said.
"I think it's to show he's still with us, we still play for him, we still have him in our hearts," senior Kyle Bush said.
Friday was senior night for Eaton Rapids. The team honored Jaxon by playing the first play with 10 players on the field and his jersey.
"I don't want his spirit to be gone. I wish more people had the spirit Jaxon had," Kocher said.
To honor Jaxon's legacy, the Jaxon Kocher memorial scholarship was created to honor a senior who shows the same character Jaxon lived with.
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