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Downriver still remembers two tragic losses

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When you cover high school sports, the start of the fall season and especially the football season is a happy and exciting time.

The players are back on the field, every team is unbeaten and the future stretches out happily in front of you.

This year, however, the season was tinged with sadness. The year began with an untimely death and ended with another.

Before we really even had a chance to get things started there came word that Chad Schoen had died while vacationing up north.

Schoen, 25, was a record-setting running back during his prep days at Carlson High School.

He was making a name for himself as a young coach when his life was cut short. Schoen had ties to Flat Rock and Anderson high schools as well as Carlson and his passing shook the Downriver football community.

That community was shaken again near Thanksgiving when Jimmy Williams, who had just finished his junior football season at Huron, was killed in a South Carolina car crash while heading out with his family on vacation.

Jimmy was the only fatality in the crash, but several family members and friends were seriously hurt.

Although just a junior, Williams led the Chiefs in tackles last season and the loss of the popular player left a gaping hole in the hearts of us all.

The Williams family moved here from New York several years ago and quickly put down deep roots.

Jimmy and his sister Kali became popular students at Huron and good athletes, too.

Father Jim Williams was the publisher at the News-Herald for a time and the family bought and runs a business in Flat Rock.

This is a time to celebrate the great young football players on these pages, but remember also the losses suffered by our friends.

During this holiday season we hold the Schoen and Williams families in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Last Updated: 12/28/2012 2:34:24 PM EST