MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — Muskegon Heights High School’s football team played its first game of the season Thursday night — and it was missing two players.
Dequarius Love, 17, was shot and killed last week in Muskegon Heights on his way to a party — the most recent of seven homicides in the city in the last five months. The first of those happened in April, when fellow student Marquis Gresham, also 17, was shot and killed while on his way to the high school basketball banquet. He also played on the football team.
Muskegon Heights played Godwin Heights Thursday evening in Wyoming to start the football season. There was a moment of silence for Love before the game.
Muskegon Heights Head Coach Jimmy Purnell said Love would have started as a right-side defensive end and Gresham as a left-side defensive end.
Purnell said his team is dedicating the season and the seniors are dedicating their education to Gresham and Love.
He said his team has been “extremely” affected by the deaths.
“Getting over the first death was tough. We barely got over the first one. And then, again, another one. It was like… It was devastating, devastating to our team and our community,” Purnell said. “It shouldn’t be happening. At all.”
He said gun violence in Muskegon Heights seems to have increased in the last few years.
“It’s hit our community hard. But it’s not just our community. It’s happening everywhere. It’s just a sad case,” he said.
Muskegon Heights Athletic Director Glen Metcalf said Love’s wake was Thursday. His funeral is scheduled for Friday.