James Island Trojans honor teammates with #41 on helmets, team banner

VIDEO: James Island Trojans honor teammates with #41 on helmets, team banner

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The James Island Trojans took to the field Friday with a determined, but heavy spirit.

"It has been overwhelming, their response to this entire tribute," says Richard Gordon, the principal at James Island Charter High School.

The number 41, which was worn by both Tristen Allen and Matt Gaither, was on the players' helmets and team banner.

"These two wore the same number and both died tragically," says Curtis Williams, who played with both Allen and Gaither. "It's something no one can explain but the guy above."

Allen, who graduated in May, died in a diving accident in July and Gaither, a 2012 graduate, was killed in a plane crash August 14. Allen's father led the charge Friday as honorary captain.

"It's obviously difficult coming back to the field where you got spend every pleasant Friday night, but it's also pleasant to see the young men out here doing what my son loved to do," says Allen.

Gordon says both young men were exceptional on and off the field. He says the team will carry on their spirit.

"None of the players are wearing 41. It's more of a tribute to the players that have wore 41.

Allen's family has created the charity "All That is 41" in honor of Tristen. They say all the donations will go to community youth programs. The Gaither family has also set up a scholarship fund for Matt. All the donations will go to support people who pursue aviation.