CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — As thousands of people filled the Shenendehowa football stadium for this year's homecoming game, many came with a heavy heart remembering Deanna Rivers and Chris Stewart, two students killed in a December 2012 car crash.
Ten months after Deanna Rivers and Chris Stewart, Friday's guilty plea by Dennis Drue stands as a milestone for many. Drue plead guilty Friday in Saratoga County Court to 58 counts against him for causing the Northway crash that killed the two Shenendehowa High School seniors last year, while seriously injuring Matthew Hardy and Bailey Wind.
For teammates of Stewart, his memory is what's leading them forward.
“He's going to be in all of our hearts, for the whole game throughout the whole season, and for the rest of our lives really, and it means a lot,” said senior Brendan Brustle.
“The way he led was really significant on and off the field,” said senior David Carloni. “He would always come up to me every day and he would always say ‘hi' to me and ask me how I was doing and it really meant something to have someone older to be helping you like that.”
But like Stewart would have wanted, the team played on.
“He would have definably not wanted us to focus on that and have fun during the season. So that's what we're going to do, just have fun and make it last,” said Matt Hendrickson.
“This made us a better community, better school community and better community at large, because of how tragic and nonsensical the whole situation was,” said Dr. Oliver Robinson.
Hardy wore #19 in memory of his girlfriend, Deanna Rivers.