LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE


Red Lion senior wide receiver Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie was on vacation when he first got word of the death of teammates Nick Mankin and Stone Hill over the summer.

He immediately called quarterback Dalton Grove to confirm the news. The two talked about the tragic car crash that took the lives of Mankin and Hill on the night of June 16. Still, they refused to believe that two of their teammates and two of their best friends were no longer with them.

Almost three months later, they still don't want to believe it.

"I was like, 'No this isn't real. This isn't happening,'" Boyd-Gillespie said about the accident.

"I couldn't believe it and didn't want to believe it," Grove added. "I was very, very upset. To lose two teammates like that, they were our family and good friends, and I still can't believe it to this day."

"You can't replace them": Throughout the summer months, the Red Lion football team and the entire community grieved. This season was supposed to be a year that continued to build off of everything good that the 2014 team accomplished.

Under the guidance of head coach Jesse Shay, the Lions went from a four-win team in his first year in 2013, to a six-win team last season. That was good enough for second place in the York-Adams League Division I standings and a berth in the District 3-AAAA playoffs. That meant that 2015 was set up for a year of potential greatness for Red Lion, and both Mankin and Hill were expected to have a big hand in that.

Hill was a starter on the varsity team last year at offensive guard and Hill was a two-year starter at linebacker and played on the baseball team. Both were set to be seniors this fall and Hill would've been a captain.

"You can't replace them," Shay said at practice on Tuesday. "You can put new players in those positions, but we have to remember that this is high school sports and the point of high school sports is much bigger than the product we put on the field and the score on that board at the end of the game. So, you don't replace what these kids and what the coaching staff considers as part of a family. I look at each of these players as one of my sons, so you don't ever replace them."