WHSV Sports Presents: Broadway #65

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BROADWAY, Va. (WHSV) -- It was a normal Friday night at Broadway.

Like any other game, there was a coin toss before the kickoff.

But the night was different for Rylan Whetzel. He lost his father Anthony Whetzel, a Broadway firefighter, who passed away at 33-years-old the week prior.

"Me and Daddy go bear hunting and deer hunting," Rylan said Friday night.

Though his Dad wasn't physically at the game, he was in Rylan's heart and on the field in another way too.

Rylan walked out on the field for the coin toss, Broadway senior Jarrod Nicklow holding his hand. Nicklow wore number 65 on his jersey, instead of his normal number, 52.

He wore 65, because it was Anthony's number when he played at Broadway more than a decade ago.

"I'm speechless," Anthony's wife Drenna Whetzel said. "It's just been unbelievable the support that we've been given through all of this."

Anthony's parents were thankful for the way the community responded.

"Tonight is like you know if you won a million dollar lottery how would you feel? Well that's how we feel tonight," Anthony's father Harry said.
"We are proud."

For years, Whetzel served his community, with heavy and loving hearts, his community honored him -- with a meaningful toss, and a number, that's much more than a number.

"I wore it back in 1974 and 1975," Harry said. "Hopefully someday the grandson can wear it and we're here to watch it."

****This article has been corrected, Anthony's sons name is Rylan Whetzel, not Ryan Whetzel.