Hundreds come to say final goodbyes to teen who died playing football

Published: Sep. 21, 2019 at 6:18 PM EDT
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A somber week in Roane County concluded Saturday with the Raider community honoring a teammate who died after collapsing on the field last week.

Late Roane County football player Alex Miller was laid to rest with a viewing and funeral at his high school.

His friends and family paying their respects, while remembering that an entire state is with them.

“It's been really overwhelming with the love that people have poured upon this community,” Miller’s friend Sharalin Metzger said, “Upon this family and I think that this is definitely encouraging for this family to know 'Hey we're here for you and we're going to encourage you.'”

Roane County Schools Superintendent Richard Duncan reflects on how this loss has set everything aside both on and off the field.

“Whatever we had between us before is gone,” Duncan said. “I think about the folks at Clay. We've said throughout the week we've talked to with our coaches and talked with our boys about how bad blood there was in the rivalry last year and the years before…but from the moment things have happened last Friday on, it's just been one big happy family. They've been here for us, they've had their own tributes, they've had their own need for support as well.”

According to Alex's youth leader Frank Hammack, the number of people reaching out and attending speaks volumes on how much of an impact Miller left.

“We were just talking about how he has so many close, sincerely close relationships with so many people,” Hammack said. “That's just because of the kind of heart that he had so anytime you have a relationship, especially over the time we've had and we watch him grow from this little kid into this strong young man, and I’m not talking about physically strong, I’m talking about emotionally, mentally, spiritually strong and you know they're going to do wonderful things and you lose them. It's harder. It's tougher.”

High school football players from around the area also attended the service, wearing their jerseys to honor Alex. The Roane County High School football team will take the field for the first time following Miller’s death on Friday against Braxton County.