WESTFIELD TWP. — Members of the Cloverleaf High School community will honor one of their own tonight.
John Sands, 23, of New London, an assistant football coach and assistant track coach with the Colts, was killed in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning in Wood County.
Cloverleaf Athletic Director Craig Walkup said members of the football team will wear emblems bearing Sands’ initials on their helmets at 7 tonight for their homecoming game against Akron Springfield at Gene Clark Stadium.
About 20 minutes before the start of the Portage Trail Conference game, both teams will have a moment of silence on the field. Walkup said Cloverleaf players will bring Sands’ old New London High School football jersey onto the field.
“The kids loved him so much,” Walkup said. “It’s nice they will be carrying his old jersey on the field.”
The Cloverleaf student section is expected to make a banner to honor Sands.
Sands was driving back from Bowling Green State University, where he was taking criminal justice classes, when his Ford Escape collided with a dump truck operated by Richard David, 61, of North Baltimore, on U.S. Route 6 in Freedom Township, according to a news release from the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. Sands was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash, reported about 10:17 a.m. Monday, remains under investigation.
Walkup said Sands, who wanted to become a police officer, was in his final semester at Bowling Green.
“He was one of those guys who always seemed like he had a smile on his face,” Walkup said. “He was such a pleasant person. I never heard him say anything negative. He was a great role model for (the Cloverleaf) kids.”
Cloverleaf football coach Justin Vorhies was a teacher and coach at New London when Sands was a senior in 2012. When Vorhies was hired by the Colts three years ago, he brought Sands with him.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sands.
Visitation for Sands will be 3-7 p.m. Sunday at New London Alliance Church, 4625 state Route 162, New London. Members of the football team, track team and cheerleaders will attend the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 18 Park Ave., New London.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.