Forty-five days after Adam Colosimo passed away, Juan Diego opened its home season against Manti.
The team was without the first student to ever die in the school's 13-year history, but the reminders were there: his name, still at the top of the roster; his number, a gigantic No. 2 painted in white behind the south end zone.
There was no ceremony needed this Friday night, one that ended with a 28-6 win over the Templars. In the hearts and minds of the Juan Diego community, Colosimo was still there.
"I feel him on the field with us," said Colosimo's cousin Nick Markosian, the quarterback responsible for three of the team's four touchdowns. "He's been with us this whole time."
Colosimo likely would have made an impact as a junior, particularly in the secondary. But without him, the Soaring Eagle defense was a force, forcing the Templars into two fumbles and three interceptions.
The performance was crucial on a night when Juan Diego's offense wasn't running on all cylinders: it fumbled on its second drive, and two of its scoring drives took just 33 yards the beneficiaries of short fields after turnovers.
"Our program prides itself on defense," said defensive back Gabe Colosimo, another cousin.
The Templars mustered only 169 yards of offense, scoring in the second quarter when running back/linebacker Zane Stevens picked up a blocked punt and took it 20 yards to the end zone.
Manti ended the game on a 22-yard drive, one last pass attempt a likely touchdown from around midfield falling through the receiver's fingers. A few minutes later, as blue jerseys scattered across the field, Gabe found a spot near midfield and took a knee.
Adam was up above somewhere, he believed, looking down on everyone and keeping them safe.
"He's the 12th man," he said. "I just wanted to thank him."
Storylines Balance and control
R Juan Diego quarterback Nick Markosian throws TDs to Dakota Cox and Jessie Springer, and rushes for one of his own.
• The Soaring Eagle defense tallies three interceptions and two fumbles.