MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: LaPorte High School

  • Unless a high school football game goes to overtime, rarely, if at all, do the co-captains meet at midfield after 48 minutes of action.

    But this wasn't really a game as it was a tribute.

    LaPorte (LaPorte, Ind.) High School, just 48 hours after teammate Jake West died of cardiac arrest on the practice field due to an enlarged heart, traveled to Merrillville for a regular-season contest.

    As this outstanding video reveals, Jake's memory was honored at every corner of the stadium – his number was on the side of helmets, fans wore sweatshirts and t-shirts with his number and name on the back.

    And in a moving tribute, right before the action began, LaPorte players huddled close, held the side of their helmets for a second and then pointed to the sky to acknowledge their friend and teammate, described by all as a kind, vivacious, giving lad.

    They also carried Jake's jersey out to midfield during the coin toss and it was later presented to his sister Courtney West by players Drew Kessler and Noah Boardman.

    "It was just awesome," friend and teammate John Shuble told the "I'm speechless. I can't say how awesome that was. It felt like Jake was with us the whole time."

    Said LaPorte coach Bob Schellinger: "It was really tough. Jake was awesome. These kids went through something this week that most adults have never gone through, watching a friend pass away right in front of them. And the way that they have handled it has just been tremendous. I'm so proud of these kids."

    To finish things off — following Merriville's 34-13 victory — a No. 26 flag that flew high on a flagpole throughout the game, was taken down and presented to captains Shuble and Mike Ash by the Merriville captains at midfield. The players shook hands and embraced.

    It capped off a very touching and sportsmanlike contest.

    Schellinger gave major kudos to Merriville athletic director Janis Qualizza and Merriville coach Zac Wells after the game. "You talk about class acts," he told Herald Argus reporter Zack Eldridge.

    Those acts were contagious throughout the night.
    Screen shot from YouTube

    Merrillvile players present a flag to LaPorte players with Jake West's No. 26, following the home team's 34-13 victory.

  • Updated 3:07 p.m. Sept. 26

    According to reports, the city's coroner said on Thursday that Jake died of right ventricular cardiomyopathy, known simply as an enlarged heart.

    Another tragedy has struck a nation's high school football team.

    Jake West, a 17-year-old linebacker on the LaPorte (Ind.) football team, died of cardiac arrest Wednesday after collapsing during practice.

    According to several reports, West was running laps in gear on the track when he fell. Coaches and bystanders immediately performed CPR and a defibrillator was also used. West's pulse, according to reports, was temporarily restored.

    But LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told that West was rushed to IU Health LaPorte Hospital where he perished.

    Twitter messages and Facebook pages have been filled with an outpouring of love and support for the popular junior.

    "R.I.P., Jake West, I love you man," LaPorte teammate Jarrett Gentry wrote. "Best teammate I could ask for."

    Another Facebook comment read: "You were the kind of guy I wanted to be. Always full of enthusiasm, with a presence of joy wherever you went. … You were such a sweet and funny guy."

    West is at least the third football player in the last two weeks to die, two which occurred on the field.

    On Sept. 16, Damon Janes, a junior at Westfield/Brocton (N.Y.) died at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo after he lost consciousness from a helmet-to-helmet collision in a Sept. 13 game. Westfield/Brocton announced this week it has cancelled the rest of its season.

    On Friday, Broadwater (Townsend, Mont.) senior football player Dakota Kimbrough, 18, was killed in a single-vehicle accident four hours before his team's homecoming game. Three other football players, including a 15-year-old driver, were in the Ford pickup and were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The game and all homecoming festivities were cancelled.
  • Eighth-grader Sydney Zambrotta exploded for a Long Island-record 63 points on Tuesday night while leading Upper Room Christian (Dix Hills, N.Y.) to a 78-17 girls basketball rout of Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.).

    The 5-foot-8 point guard made 24 field goals, one of them a 3-pointer, and 14 free throws to eclipse the previous record of 60 points by Jennifer Mitchell of Hempstead (N.Y.).

    Zambrotta, who entered the game with a nation-leading 44-point scoring average, transferred to Upper Room Christian in the fall from North Babylon (N.Y.). She is starting with four girls who never previously had played organized basketball, first-year coach Rebecca Stevens told MaxPreps.

    Stevens said Zambrotta "is an extremely good ball-handler and ambidextrous, which gives her a big edge. She can score from the top of the key with a 3-pointer or go inside. She has the ability to see the floor really well. She definitely does have speed and scored on a lot of fast-break layups last night."

    *Tuesday also was a big night for Greta Tamasauskaite, who scored 57 points as Grace Academy (Matthews, N.C.) rolled past Kennedy Charter (Charlotte, N.C.) 83-57. It placed her No. 4 for single-game scoring in North Carolina history. The state record is 61 by All-American Shea Ralph of Sanford (Fayetteville, N.C.) in 1995.