KILGORE, TEXAS (KLTV) - A new era has begun in Kilgore.
For the first time in 15 years...the Ragin Red have a new head coach.
"I learned a lot from coach Val (former Kilgore head coach Mike Vallery, who retired this spring) when he was here, and about the traditions that we have here at Kilgore," said first year head coach Mike Wood, "And my job is to keep those traditions going.
But when Wood, and the Red, took the field for the first time, they did so with heavy hearts.
"It is hard for us, to see a teammate gone, and everyday we look at his locker, knowing that he is not there," said Bulldog wide receiver Robert Morgan.
That locker belongs to Jacovan Savoie, who would have been a senior on the team, but who lost his life in a drowning accident in April.
"We have all kinds of notes by his locker, we still have his jersey and pads there," said quarterback Riley Tolar, "We look at it every day, and and wonder what he could do if he were here, and stuff like that."
"I have a prayer for him, because it is Jacovan, and we miss him," said lineman Patrick Colbert, "But we are going to go one, and he will be thought of."
So with the memory of their fallen friend and teammate, the Ragin Red play on, to play in his honor.
"It has been hard for us, and we meet everyday and we talk about how we are going to go out there and play for him, and win games, and hit people for him," said Morgan.
"We just try to be like him," said Tolar.
And remembering, while not there in person, Jacovan Savoie will be with them, in spirit.
"Yeah he will, because it is Jacovan, he was like no body else, and he is going to be there always."
The Bulldogs open the 2010 season on September 3rd, on the road at Corsicana.