By BRAD KEITH
While still mourning the loss of one of their own, members of the Tarleton State football program will march on with spring practices this week.
Head coach Cary Fowler met with his team late Monday afternoon and he and returning team captain Jacob Rowe joined others in leading a brief memorial service in honor of Zach Shaver, a freshman who passed away in a Fort Worth hospital Monday morning after suffering a head injury during a spring scrimmage Saturday.
Shaver, 18, was a defensive lineman who redshirted last fall and was competing for a spot on the field with the 2010 Texans. He was a 2009 graduate of Rider High School in Wichita Falls.
A funeral service is set for 10 a.m. Friday in Wichita Falls, and Fowler says plans are for the entire team to attend the ceremony together.
“We preach family, and we are one big family,” Fowler says. “When you lose a family member you mourn together and you heal together. The mourning process is still going on, but at the same time the healing process is already beginning.”
Part of that healing process, Fowler says, is returning to the practice field.
“More than anything, these kids, these coaches, all of us, we need a routine right now,” he said. “We have to get back into our routine so that we have a sense of normalcy.”
The Texans had meetings and lifted weights Tuesday and will return to the practice field today. Fowler was unsure Tuesday morning whether today’s practice would be in full pads with full contact, or if a helmets-only, no-contact format would be followed.
“Zach was a special young man, and he had no quit in him,” Fowler said. “I know he would want us to keep fighting and not quit what we’re doing right now.”