Bishop Ireton High (Alexandria, Va.) football coach Tony Verducci works as an attorney in the Washington Navy Yard and was locked down during the Sept. 16 shooting that left 13 dead and eight injured, so his team made a subtle tribute to the victims.
The Cardinals attached black decals with "WNY" written in gold on the side of their red helmets, as relayed in a Washington Post feature on the team's tie to the tragedy.
"Our team motto this year is 'It's not about me,'" Verducci told The Post. "So we thought it’d be a nice idea to get decals, put them on our helmets as a reminder to ourselves and everyone else that, although Saturday might be a normal football game so to speak, in reality there was something going on that was bigger than us."
In a strange twist noted by The Post, one official for Ireton's first game since the shooting was Barry Lake, Verducci's co-worker at the Navy Yard. During the coach's seven-year tenure at Ireton, Lake previously avoided officiating Cardinals games. (Not that there was any conflict of interest, since Episcopal High (Alexandria, Va.) prevailed that night, 55-14.)
"I thought it was a nice touch," Lake told The Washington Post of the decals. "Tasteful, and as far as officials, we don’t have a problem with that. I thought it was a nice touch."