SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Six-year-old Serdeario Thomas, Jr. will no longer have the opportunity to run his hand along the laces of a football, but all 21 of his teammates are taking the field in his honor.
He was killed in car wreck on September 20 when the car he was riding in collided with another in Bossier City. Thomas was riding in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt.
"It's just a big loss, because he was one of our captains, and a lot of the plays ran through him. He was a quarterback, and he's going to be greatly missed," Head coach Roderick Bates said.
Bates led the pack of football players escorted by a police unit and accompanied by Thomas' mother Quirtisha Allen. In an emotional pre-game ceremony, Allen was given her son's game day jersey, a helmet signed by all of the coaches and teammates, along with the game day ball and the coin used in the toss.
Allen broke down in the center of the field. While Thomas won't touch the field again, the team made room for his memory.
"That spot will not be filled by any other person. It can't be filled by any other person. When you have that 'it' factor, it can't be replaced," SPAR youth coordinator Eumarcus Hicks said.
The organization canceled last week's game after receiving news of the tragic loss. On Saturday, Thomas' family watched from the sideline just as they would if No. 5 was taking the field, knowing that while he is gone, his spirit and passion for the game will carry on through those who played alongside the young athlete.