WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News, Weather, & Sports

Football Player Killed in Crash

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Stanley is mourning the loss of one of their own as a Stanley-Boyd football player was killed Friday night while he was driving to a playoff game.

Now his teammates, friends and family are struggling to cope with the loss.

We spoke with several of Jared Johnson's friends, they say it's a loss they're still trying to understand. But, say they're grieving together, honoring his memory as a community and that is helping them through this tragedy.

It was an unexpected loss..

"It weighed heavy on the guys minds the whole game and on the coaches minds the whole game," Stanley-Boyd Football Coach Jeff Koenig said.

In the midst of level three playoff game, the football team discovered they lost one of their own. Senior offensive lineman Jared Johnson died in a crash while driving to what would have been the final game of his high school career.

"This is, this is a horrible night, it's just the worst news you could get," Stanley-Boyd superintendent Jim Jones said.

"Its a shock to all of the team members," player Greg Ponick said.

Johnson was traveling along Copenhaver Avenue, a gravel road, when he lost control. The Clark County Sheriff's Department says his vehicle then rolled several times, ejecting Johnson from the vehicle.

He was taken to Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley, but later died of his injuries.

"I feel like I've lost a son, but I tell the guys every game I love them win or lose, you probably don't get a lot of football coaches that say that, but it's, it's true," Koenig said.

Friday morning friends, family and teammates gathered at the high school to honor the young man they say was a gifted athlete and respectful student, blessed with a winning humor and smile they'll miss dearly.

Teammate Greg Ponick says it's a loss made tougher by the close ties of the Stanley Community.

"It means a lot to them and to all of us as a team, we're a family, it's like being sons of the Johnson family," he said.

Ponick says after they got the news at halftime, it was a struggle to take the field but they were playing for Jared. He says that's what Johnson would have wanted.


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