COVENTRY TWP. The scoreboard read 51, 51, 51 and 51.
The number 51, is the number of Issac Stover, a Coventry High School senior football player. More than 300 people from the Coventry community came together Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil at Logan Field to remember the life of Stover, who committed suicide Jan. 25.
Stover, an 18-year-old student was a linebacker who was well liked by his teachers, coaches and friends. Prior to the vigil, the football team gathered in the center of the field and released balloons into the air. Community members and students signed a large banner, which will go to Ed Egan, head football coach at Coventry, to display.
Candles were handed out to everyone and they began lighting up Logan Field. Those in attendance hugged one of another, cried and laughed when sharing memories of Stover. The evening was filled with prayer and stories of Stover’s life.
Egan knew Stover from not only football, but he taught him physical education in grades five through eight.
"He was one of the best linebackers we have had," Egan said. "He was a good one."
Egan said he has a lot of great memories of Stover.
"He used to try and make fun of me, but I would make fun of him first," Egan said. "He lost."
One of Egan’s best memories was when he got really sick last year and Stover and some of the other teammates came and raked leaves in his yard for free.
"That is the kind of kid he was," Egan said. "Most kids don’t do that ever."
Egan invited anyone else who wanted to share memories to come up to the press box and share them.
Jack Stover, Issac’s cousin, thanked everyone for coming and supporting his family in this time of need.
"No matter what you are going through, I promise you it is not worth it," Jack Stover said. "People care about you. I guarantee you that if you look to the left and right everybody here would agree with me that someone cares about you."
He encouraged everyone to hug and kiss your loved ones and to keep his family in your prayers.
Rebecca Dimeff, an elementary teacher in Coventry, said Issac was a great kid always smiling. She encouraged students that teachers are always there for them to talk to.
Zach Rankin, a junior, told the crowd Issac was the nicest person he knew. He said whenever he or Issac would make a tackle they would always go crazy and celebrate together. Coaches of the football team all agree that the team's 8-2 record this year was largely credited to Issac’s performance.
Nate Skaggs, a senior, said he will always have a lot of memories on and off the field of Issac. Skaggs said he will always remember after games on Saturday mornings going to get breakfast.
Elizabeth Thrall, president of Coventry Angels, helped organize the event and his been trying to help as much as possible. She reminded everyone in attendance that they matter and Coventry is "Coventry Strong."
The community is also stepping up help as a meal train has been setup for the family where community members can pick a night and take food to the family. Days are filling up, but anyone interested can visit https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/yl4101.
Thrall said the hope is to have some sort of benefit in the future for the family.
Donations to the Stover family can be made in the name of Jay Stover at any Chase bank location.
"On behalf of the Coventry Schools' community, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Stover family," Coventry Schools Superintendent Lisa Blough said. "It was truly heart wrenching to learn of Isaac's passing. Our hearts go out, first and foremost, to the family, all the students, staff, and families who have been impacted by this tragedy. This devastating loss will have a profound effect on so many individuals, especially our high school students."
In addition to the community support, the district has been doing its best to help students cope.
"One of the greatest attributes of the Coventry Schools' community is its amazing family atmosphere," Blough said. "In times, as tragic as these, our community drops everything and immediately comes together to support those in need. This fortitude was demonstrated this past week."
Blough said the high school’s crisis intervention team immediately came together to implement a support plan for the students. The team consisted of the building administration, high school football coaches, Summit County Sheriff's Office, high school guidance counselors, behavior specialist, the middle-school counselor and the superintendent.
Once the students were made aware of what had happened, they started to gather in small groups throughout the school, Blough said. School personnel were on hand to provide the necessary support for the students.
"In addition to the initial student support, the building was opened that evening to allow the students the opportunity to come back and participate in grief counseling with the school counselors, behavior specialist and a variety of other Coventry staff members," Blough said. "During this time, the building administration made personal phone calls that evening to any of the students who were extremely distraught by the news. They checked on each student's welfare and ensured that the parents were aware of what was happening."
In addition, the 12th-grade English teacher at the high school made arrangements to bring in several therapy dogs last Friday for the students.
"It was amazing to see the positive impact the therapy dogs had on the students and their overall emotional wellbeing," Blough said.
The high school is also working with a nationally known and recognized speaker Kevin Wanzer to come and spread an uplifting message to the students. Wanzer is expected to touch upon this tragedy and ensure students that there are so many people in their lives who care deeply about them.
Blough said there has also been overwhelming amounts of support from surrounding school districts and beyond. The high school basketball team played Field Saturday night and Field was kind and supportive regarding this situation. They also made a huge banner and presented it Saturday.
"In addition, the surrounding schools have offered a great deal of guidance and suggestions on how to cope with this situation," Blough said. "Really, there has been just a remarkable amount of people who have reached out to offer their sympathies and provided whatever kind of support they can during this time. So, we would like to thank each and everyone one of them."