CHESNEE, S.C. (WSPA) – There was not an empty seat in the house on Monday in the Chesnee High School football stadium.
Decked in black and gold, fans and school supporters gathered on Monday to pay their respects to those killed on Friday in a car accident.
That crash forced the high school to postpone their Friday night football game against Landrum. The teams met on Monday for the game.
Everyone on Chesnee’s side of the stands was wearing black and gold, ribbons and stickers in support.
A moment of silence, prayers and the Chesnee community wrapping its arms around each other is what filled the game.
“I think the love and support is being shown across the community, even outside of Chesnee,” said Matthew Sanders, who has a daughter in the district.
“I hate to say it, stuff like this really bring a community together,” said Mike Gabriel, who attended the game.
“Chesnee is a strong community. Regardless of what’s happening, day in and day out. Especially when our community needs extra loving on, they’ll show out, just like they always do,” said Jennifer Radford, a parent.
South Carolina Highway Patrol said three people died in the crash on Fairfield Road and the driver was sent to the hospital.
“I think community is important and so big in this small town. Everyone knows someone who has been impacted, but we can all be here for each other and grow from it,” said class president, Ami Ray Breitembach.
Flowers were laid out in honor of those killed, and the opposing team, Landrum, showed their support.
“We thought it would be important to us come out and support the football, and at the same time, support the community and everything they’re going through,” said Sanders.
Those amongst the crowd held up “Chesnee Strong” banners and “Go Eagles.” They said they are all leaning on one another.
“Anytime there is a tragedy, you always take a moment to reflect on what if that was me, what if that was my family, but even when it’s not, it doesn’t hurt any less or feel any less burden. We are a community, and we are there for each other,” said Radford.
“Half of these kids we still consider ours, because at some point and time, they’ve been in and out of our households,” said Gabriel.
“We’re all praying for the families and we’re all here for them,” said Mary Gabriel, who attended the game.
Those who go to school in the district said Monday was an emotional day.
“It’s a lot of sadness, and some people are just helping others who are sad about those who died in the car wreck,” said student Maddie Sanders.
“At school today, I think everyone showed up not knowing what to think. This morning, our principal went over this intercom and just stated what happened and there was guidance counselors and pastors for anyone who needed those sources,” said Breitembach.
Everyone is trying to get through this together.
Chesnee ended up winning Monday night’s game.