ST. JOHNS, Fla. - With Bartram Trail wide receiver Aubrey Thompson fighting for his life after he was critically injured in a traffic crash on Wednesday, the school is focusing students' excitement for the game on a show of support for Thompson and his family.
Thompson, 16, was thrown from a pickup truck driven by his long-time friend, 16-year-old Dylan Shaw, in the accident on Longleaf Pine Parkway near Orange Branch Trail at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday.
St. Johns County deputies believe Shaw was speeding when he lost control of the pickup, causing it to flip twice.
Thompson remains in critical condition at UF Health Jacksonville.
Shaw was transported to Baptist Medical Center South with non-life-threatening injuries.
Friends and teammates of the two teens were at Bartram Trail High School Wednesday night trying to make sense of the accident.
"He is a leader," said Bartram head football coach Darrell Sutherland. "Just a fantastic young man; one of the hardest working young men I've ever been around."
Aubrey's teammates plan to put Thompson's number -- 17 -- somewhere on their uniforms or helmets for Friday's game.
"He's awesome, a great teammate. One of the best on the team," said friend Bryce Walker.
Thompson's teammates and coach had much praise and big fears for their friend they hope makes a full recovery.
The Creekside at Bartram game was overwhelmingly selected as Channel 4's Football Friday Game of the Week, but school officials declined holding a morning pep rally during The Morning Show due to the situation, but would address Thompson and his condition during a private, afternoon pep rally.
Both teams are planning to wear white to the game to show support for Thompson's recovery and are tweeting using the #PrayForAubrey hashtag.
"It's really amazing to just know that you have people here, even people that didn't know Aubrey or didn't know Aubrey's very close friends, they're still there to support everyone and everything in this community," one student said. "This tragedy is showing us what our community is about and why we're so close and why we all have come together."
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