New Jersey HS football community mourns 2 athletes who passed away this month

Photo: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

New Jersey HS football community mourns 2 athletes who passed away this month

Football

New Jersey HS football community mourns 2 athletes who passed away this month

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Union County in New Jersey is mourning after the second high school football player in the area passed away in recent weeks. Ali Muhamad and Xavier McClain are remembered as loved young members of their respective schools and community.

Rahway (N.J.) High School shared the news over Twitter on Sept. 8 that Muhamad, a 17-year-old senior, had died. NJ.com spoke to members of the football team who remember him as a hard-working backup center whose play in practice forced the starting unit to improve. He was a four-year football player and played on the junior varsity baseball team, according to the outlet.

“He played hard all the time. He was our opponent’s scout team center and just did whatever you asked him to do to make the team better. And he loved being a part of it,” head coach Brian Russo told NJ.com.

Ali, a month away from turning 18, passed away in his sleep, according to NJ.com.

Tragedy struck again on Wednesday when Linden (N.J.) High School sophomore Xavier McClain passed away. The death was reportedly caused by a head injury that he suffered during a game on Sept. 9.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead posted a message to social media about the death of McClain:

“Together we prayed for a miracle and hoped for a different outcome. I trust that God knows better. HE needed an angel and decided to call Xavier home to be with HIM.”

Armstead told ABC7 that he had is close to the McClain family and had known the child for years.

“I watched him and his brother grow up, we were good friends with the mother and father … they were very active with the sports in town — football, baseball, basketball — good athlete and very nice young man,” Armstead said to the outlet.

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