Homer athletes wearing orange and black to honor Phoenix

A Homer cheerleader wears a black and orange ribbon.

It was on the Homer football field where Ridge Barden died playing the sport he loved.

It was a head to head collision in the third quarter, an accident, that proved to be fatal.

Now the Homer community wants Phoenix to know that they're thinking about them.

"I feel for the family, his family," Homer resident Gordon Wheelock says. "I feel for the families of all the players, both teams."

Homer High School athletes have wasted no time in showing their support. Saturday night Homer cheerleaders wore orange and black ribbons in a cheerleading competition as a tribute to the Firebirds.

The next time the Homer football team takes the field, they will be wearing special shirts under their uniforms to honor Ridge Barden. Homer School District Superintendent Nancy Ruscio says it's important to honor Barden and the Phoenix community, but in a respectful manner.

"We're trying to honor them, and be respectful of what they're going through, from a distance," Ruscio says. "They have all they can do to support each other, and we are supporting them from afar."

Ruscio says the support will go beyond just the Homer athletic teams. She says Section III is planning to have all teams wear an orange and black patch with Barden's initials on it for this weekend's games.