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School recognizes football team's fallen players

BEEKMANTOWN The Beekmantown Eagles football team stood gathered at the 50-yard line with their heads bowed in respect for two of their own last Saturday. During half-time in their home opener game against the Saranac Chiefs, the Eagles paused to remember the lives of Brian R. DeForge and Eric H. Pellerin two young men who wore the number 18 for Beekmantown and whose lives were cut tragically short in separate accidents. DeForge, a 1999 Beekmantown graduate and first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, lost his life in a mid-air collision during training maneuvers in California in June 2006. Pellerin, a 1997 Beekmantown graduate, died in a car accident in June 2005 when a car crossed the center line and struck his vehicle. Announcer Craig Mathews commended DeForge and Pellerin for being role models as students, athletes and young men and said the loss of the two has left a deep void. Mathews welcomed the DeForge and Pellerin families to the ceremony, crediting them for giving us the opportunity to know Eric and Brian. The memories of Eric carrying the football and making key plays as a linebacker and Brian leading the team as a quarterback and linebacker are ingrained in coaches, fans and players minds, said Mathews. The memories of teachers and people they met could not help but be impressed by the quality of people they had become. The families of both young men were moved by the recognition the two received, including specially-engraved plaques that were given to them in their honor. It was nice that they honored both Eric and Brian, said Erics mother, Pati Landry. It was an uncanny coincidence that they both wore the same number and that they were friends who lost their lives within a year of each other. He loved football and he loved being an Eagle, Landry added. He was a great young man and he is so missed. As a family, we always knew Eric was spectacular and were very proud of him, said Pellerins sister, Amy Pellerin-Criss. This gesture supports these feelings and allows for us, family, friends and others who knew him to keep him close to honor what he stood for and keep his memory alive. High school principal Garth J. Frechette, who coached the Eagles with Cumberland Head Elementary School teacher Peter Villa when Pellerin and DeForge were each on the team, said it was only fitting to remember the fine young men on the field where they spent much of their time. The easiest part was the idea of being able to recognize them, said Frechette. It feels good to be able to give back to their families. They gave a lot to us they were leaders on the field, leaders in the weight room, leaders in the classroom. They led by example. Both of them were everything youd want your son to be, Frechette added. During their game, the Eagles wore decals on their helmets, each consisting of a black number 18 in honor of DeForge of Pellerin. The team defeated the Chiefs 28-12. The game was one both men would have been proud to see, said Frechette. They would be very pleased, he said. In addition to the plaques presented to the Pellerin and DeForge families, a third plaque will be placed in the football teams display case in the high school.

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