EUFAULA — About 30 minutes after Stigler finished off a rough eight days with a 21-7 win over Eufaula on Friday night, Austan Drewry had an obligation to fulfill.
While his teammates got dressed and began boarding the bus that would take them back home, Drewry stood on the field at Eufaula's Paul Bell Stadium and took picture after picture.
This night, Drewry was chosen to wear Cory Casinger's No. 65. The pictures he was taking were with Casinger's family, most of whom wore shirts honoring Casinger.
Casinger was killed in a car accident just outside of Stigler on July 20.
The Panthers have been rotating the number through the offensive line all season, and Drewry drew the honor against the Ironheads, wearing not only Casinger's number but his name on his back.
“It means a lot to get a chance to wear his number,” Drewry said. “Cory was one of my good friends and I think I made him proud tonight.”
The Stigler team had plenty more on its mind Friday, playing just eight days after another player — senior Gordon Parsons — was found dead. His death was announced to the team immediately following their win over Spiro.
“It's been rough,” Panthers quarterback Cade Shearwood said. “It's been hard to stay focused with all this. We tried to keep the same schedule as much as possible and keep everything as normal as possible.”
But there was nothing normal about the week of preparations for Eufaula.
Parsons' funeral was Tuesday, and his death provoked emotions that were already raw after Casinger's death.