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Trojans Celebrate Payne Year Later

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Dana Payne RememberedTrojans 87 huddle

Trojans Head Football Coach Chris Michael poses with Dana Payne's mother and grandmother Tameka and Diana Smith.

Trojans Head Football Coach Chris Michael poses with Dana Payne’s mother and grandmother Tameka and Diana Smith.

Once the Millington Trojans wrapped up practice today, it was time to remember why August 21 will always be an important date to the program.

It was a year ago on their home field they lost teammate and friend Dana Payne. Just a sophomore, the 15-year-old Payne died from injuries he suffered from a tackle at practice. On the first anniversary of his passing, Millington Central High School Principal Mark Neal, members of the Trojan coaching staff, players, cheerleaders, students, friends, supporters, the Northaven community and Payne’s family came for a candle tribute to No. 87. Young Life’s Luke Sadler addressed the crowd gathered speaking on the type of child Dana was and his connection with Christ.

The Millington Cheerleaders of McKenzie Morrow, Erica Johnson, Briana Atkins, Kala Lemon, Angel Davis, De’Anna Gibbs, Erin Brown, Tia Crawford and Ashlee Fleming lit the candled in front of the Millington Fieldhouse with a large golden 87 painted on the doors.

Dana’s grandmother Diana Smith thanked the players and coaches wearing a shirt with photos of Payne. Dana’s mother Tameka Smith was last to address the team encouraging to go out and have a great season in honor of her son. She led the players in a chant playing tribute to Dana.

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