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“This started out as a rosary for the senior football players and basketball players who knew Garrett. This was a way to help them grieve,” Principal Steve Straessle said. “It went from being a rosary for about two or three dozen to, it got out on Facebook, and the kids who were recent graduates called and asked if they could come and then their parents called and asked if they could come and of course, we want to welcome as many as we can.”

Beneath banners honoring state championship teams in football, basketball, soccer and the Quiz Bowl, students, alumni and parents stood, sat in the bleachers or kneeled on the hardwood floor as the school’s rector, Msgr. Lawrence Frederick, led prayers. Many wept.

Also, some students used black tape to tape “88” on the backs of their white shirts.

“It’s tough to see them under this situation,” said Central High football coach Ellis “Scooter” Register, who coached Uekman and the Catholic High Rockets two seasons ago.

Petrino’s weekly news conference was canceled by the university, and Arkansas’ players weren’t available to talk on Sunday or Monday.

Some took to Twitter to express their sorrow.

Garrett Uekman rest in peace my brother,” running back Knile Davis tweeted. “Watch over us as we continue to chase the dream u started with us. I love u and will forever miss u.”

They also made it clear they will use Uekman’s death as motivation against LSU.

“A team with something to play for can be dangerous, but a team with someone to play for is unstoppable,” freshman tackle Brey Cook tweeted.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said counseling services would be made available to players following the passing of Uekman, who had seen action in nine games this season.

“He will be part of us forever,” Petrino said.


Kelly Kissel in Little Rock and Brett Martel in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.