HICO, WV (WVNS) – Damon Mooney was a student, football player, and a friend to all at Midland Trail High School.

The bond built through shedding blood, sweat and tears in the summer heat during football practices is a strong one.

It is especially strong at smaller schools, like Single-A Midland Trail High School, a place where students and staff say ‘everybody knows everybody.’

So it is easy to understand how Offensive Lineman Damon Mooney’s sudden passing is hitting his teammates and coaches hard.

Sophomore Running Back Jayden Roop was a classmate of Damon’s. He told 59News he and many of the other Patriots football players are still in shock, processing their grief day-by-day.

“It’s just – I don’t know, really, what to do. It’s crazy that he’s gone already. He was only 16,” said Roop.

Damon’s teammates and coaches on the Midland Trail football team are understandably shaken by the sudden, tragic passing of one of their own.

Head Coach Jeremy Moore was the first to break the news of Damon’s passing to his teammates. Coach Moore said the players and coaches remember their brother Damon as an extremely kind and fun person to be around.

“He was outgoing, bubbly, loved football, loved being around his teammates, loved pregame meals. He was just – he was a great kid, man,” Coach Moore told 59News. “To know Damon, you can’t replace a Damon, man.”

The team is receiving an outpouring of support from the community.

Coaches from Oak Hill High School’s football team sent a flower arrangement in Damon’s honor.

A GoFundMe in Damon’s memory has already raised more than $16,000 for his family.

The team also plans to wear decals with Damon’s number, 66, on their helmets in Friday’s game against Wheeling Central Catholic.

Still, Roop said nothing will be the same for the team without their brother Damon running out with them under the lights on Friday nights.

“It’s going to be hard. Him not being there talking to you on the sidelines after scoring a touchdown. Him saying congrats and everything. It’s just going to be weird, him not being there,” said Roop.

There is a unique tradition at Midland Trail, started by Coach Moore and his staff. At the end of every game and every practice, the coaches and players all leave each other with one message: “I love you.

It is something Moore and Roop said has given them a lot of comfort during these extremely hard times – knowing the last message they gave to Damon, was that they loved him.