The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers (WEM) football team played their playoff game Saturday night with heavy hearts after they lost their teammate just hours before kickoff.
Wide receiver and cornerback Brady Hruska, 17, tragically lost his life in a hunting accident after the boat he was in capsized early Saturday morning. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, four other teens were with Hruska when their boat overturned. Those four were able to make it to shore with two of them being hospitalized.
The football team had the decision to either play the game as scheduled Saturday night, or postpone it until Monday night. Seniors on the football team decided that Hruska would have wanted them to play that night. Players wore a lime green number 2 on the back of their helmets to honor their fallen teammate. Fans and players alike also work lime green in remembrance of Hruska.
You couldn’t blame WEM for going into halftime down 21-6. Obviously the loss of a teammate just hours before their Section 2AA semifinal game with the Medford Tigers was weighing heavy on their hearts and mind. The Buccaneers were able to rally in the second half as they scored 28 unanswered points to defeat the Tigers 34-21.
The Buccaneers advanced to the section final where they face top-seeded Sibley East Wolverines on Friday night.
How these young student-athletes were able to play football, let alone erase a 15 point deficit at halftime, is beyond me.
It’s always nice and heart warming to see a community, no matter how big or small, rally together like this one in such a tragic time. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Hruska family, as well as with his friends and fellow football teammates.