In the midst of the grieving process, a football team can be an excellent support system.
Players that have gone through two-a-day practices together, have run to the point of exhaustion together and have beaten the living stuffing out of each other form a special bond that is difficult to duplicate anywhere else.
So when tragedy strikes in a player's personal life, he has an array of brothers that are quick to help in any way they can.
Such was the case when Hempfield senior defensive lineman Nate Trimble offered his starting spot on the Black Knights football team this Friday to sophomore Evan Pritchard in light of his father passing away unexpectedly from a heart attack last week.
Pritchard's father, Perry, was the assistant principal at Conestoga Valley High School.
"Evan is a great kid. He's been so strong during this tragic time and I know it would make him, his family and his dad happy to see him out on that field Friday night in honor of his father," Trimble said. "So I took it upon myself to make that happen and our coaches were all on board with my decision."
After making the decision, Trimble waited until he and Pritchard were alone to inform him that he would be a Week One starter.
"He's our punter so after practice he stayed after to practice his punts," Trimble said. "So I stayed out there until he was done and had a one-on-one conversation with him; telling him that I'll always be here for him and that's when I told him."
Trimble explained how Pritchard's reaction to the news far exceeded anything the football field could provide.
"He's a quiet kid, but I could tell he was shocked and speechless. It brought tears to the eyes and he left the locker room with a smile on his face, which I haven't seen in a while. It's definitely a moment I'll never forget."
Sporting a lineman's frame at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Pritchard will get his first career varsity start in front of his home crowd Friday as Hempfield plays host to defending Section Two Champion Lampeter-Strasburg at 7 p.m.