Crane High School football team to honor Marco Lomeli through the semester

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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CRANE, Texas (KOSA) -Crane High School Football will honor one of their students that passed away almost ten years ago at every game.

During the coin flip, team captains walk together holding a number 23 jersey to honor Marco Lomeli.

The Golden Crane’s home game’s have become memorable for the Lomeli family, what would’ve been Marco’s senior year, is now a season to honor him..

Marco was diagnosed with Pontine Glioma at the age of six.

Pontine Glioma is a rare, fast growing tumor that forms in cells that are part of the brain cell.

Marco’s first grade teacher, Terra Willis, says even though he was sick after kindergarten, he was very bright and strong.

“And he wasn’t able to start school on time, but when he did come back to school, he caught on really fast,” Willis said.  " And then there was another short period when he was gone again, and he had a stroke. And when he came back, he was still in a wheelchair, but he was very strong and very motivated.”

Marco’s sister, Maria Lomeli, is a varsity cheerleader for Crane High School.

On Friday, the football team gave her the number 23 jersey to honor her brother.

Even though she was very young when her brother passed away, she says she’s honored to receive this jersey for him.

“It makes me happy. that he’s really honored, and he’s recognized, we know he won’t be forgotten. It just makes me really happy,” Maria said.

Maria and Willis both had wristbands with Marco’s name on it that they’ve been wearing for years to remember him.

Willis says even though Marco was extremely ill, he never gave up.

“A couple months later, we went to a walker and by the end of the year he was back walking down the hallway to school, he never gave up even when he was extremely sick. He had to relearn pretty much everything again, he did really well,” Willis said.

Crane Football Head Coach Michael Pittman said in a statement quote, “This would have been Marco’s senior year…I have no doubt that he would have been on our varsity football team and would have been a great teammate and friend to these boys,”

Willis says the football team plans to walk onto the field with the #23 jersey every game this season and in the spring his jersey will be there with the rest of the seniors at graduation.