Community mourns loss of 12-year-old at homecoming game

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SLOAN, Iowa (KCAU) — The town of Sloan continues to mourn the loss of a twelve-year-old boy who was a part of the junior high football and cross country teams.

“He’s an outstanding young man, always a smile on his face. Just a great individual, and we’re gonna do what we can to try to honor him,” said Westwood High Head Football Coach and Activities Director Cass Burkhart.

It was a packed house at Westwood’s football field with barely a parking spot to be found. All the emotions were felt at the Rebels’ homecoming game against the Hinton Blackhawks, which was postponed from Friday due to the tragedy.

From Kage’s football number three stuck on the back of every helmet, to the blue number three’s around the field, it wasn’t hard to find the tributes to Kage McDonald.

After Westwood Superintendent Jay Lutt announced the heartbreaking news that Kage died after falling off a homecoming float, Coach Burkhart knew his team would want to do something to remember him.

“It’s a chance for our football team to honor Kage’s memory. It’s a close-knit group of guys, and our junior high is a close-knit group of guys,” said Burkhart.

As for Hinton, their coaching staff paid respect to the community by all wearing Westwood blue. Their community can sympathize with Sloan’s feeling as they lost two students in an accident nearly two years ago.

“We remember back to the support that we got from other communities, and just how that felt like you weren’t an island, that other people understood and other people had compassion with you and that’s kind of what we wanted to show. You know what, through all times, like the Bible says, grieve with those that grieve, mourn with those that mourn, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Hinton Head Coach Kadrian Hardersen.

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Emotions ran high before the game as Boy Scout Troop 269 presented the colors followed by a moment of silence and a release of thousands of balloons.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter, said Hardersen. What matters is the kids had the opportunity to play the game they love.

A link to a GoFundMe page set up for the McDonald family can be found here.

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