Following the June 27 death of former Rocky River High School football player Patrick Green, the Pirates football team will honor its teammate on the field this season.
Green, a punter for the Pirates, wore number 13. That number will be worn by senior kicker, Owen Bebie. The team will also wear a sticker on its helmets with Green’s initials and number throughout the season.
“It’s just something that we’re going to do from the top down,” Rocky River football coach Josh Wells said. “It’s very visible, it’s something that’s a small part of the legacy he leaves behind. He touched people’s lives and when we pass (this) down to little kids, little kids will know exactly who he is because of who he was.”
Originally, the plan was for 13 to go unworn this season. But after a conversation between Bebie and Green’s father, they decided, due to the friendship between Bebie and Green, having Bebie wear the number would be the right way to honor Green, the holder on Bebie’s kicks for the past three seasons was Green.
“Mr. Green told me that he wanted me to wear it,” Bebie said. “I just thought it was a huge honor because what’s a better way to represent Pat?”
Bebie, who has worn 39, 8 and 2 his first three seasons with Rocky River, also said that his relationship with Green extended beyond the gridiron.
“I would hang out with him on the weekends, I would sleep over all the time. It wasn’t just a football team relationship,” Bebie said. “Even when we were on the field, we had a great connection. Against Clyde (in the playoffs) we went 2-for-3 on field goals past 40 yards. He was the most athletic kid that I’ve ever met but he only held and punted. He was the best punter I ever played with.”
Wells said that, in the locker room, Green was the player you’d go to “when you needed a smile, when you needed a pick-me-up.”
“Pat was that guy,” Wells said. “He came into practices, did his thing, talked to people, hung around but game days, he was all about making sure – if you could see people who were down, he’s the guy that would be there to pick them up.”
Green was named All-Ohio as a junior and senior punting. Wells emphasized he had a high level of trust in Green on the field. That came from Green’s football intelligence and his ability to go above and beyond what a normal punter might do.
His sense of humor and connection with the coaches and team, though, allowed him to joke about his other job on the team, as the holder for field goals and extra points.
“We told him when he was younger that he was in the running for all-conference holder or All-Ohio holder; something like that,” Wells said. “He eventually realized we were just joking around but he took everything he did seriously. He studied it and learned it and owned it.”
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