Football players across Central New York paid tribute Friday night to the 16 year old Phoenix High School football player who died during a game with Homer High School last week. Section III playoffs began tonight with players in every game sporting stickers on the backs of their helmets bearing the letters RB for Ridge Barden.
At West Genesee High School in addition to the players wearing the stickers the team mascot even got in on the act. The Wildcat wore an orange jersey which read on the front "RIP Ridge Barden".
In addition to the tributes at all of the high school games Ridge Barden's teammates from J.C. Birdlebough High School were invited to the Carrier Dome tonight by Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone. The whole team stood on the sidelines of the Big East game between Syracuse and West Virginia. Coach Marrone has been supportive this week of Phoenix varsity coach Jeff Charles and his efforts to counsel the team during their grief.
Ridge Barden was laid to rest Thursday. He was a 6'2" and 230 pound lineman and a straight A student. His last game was also his first as a starter. The Cortland County coroner said the autopsy revealed Barden died of a subdermal hematoma. He had a head to head collision with another player.