HONEA PATH, S.C. - Lacing up his cleats for the first time in more than a week, Belton-Honea Path senior quarterback Hykeng Paul still had thoughts of Jarvaris Clinkscales.
When the Bears got on the practice field for the first time since they were to hold a minicamp involving area teams, they went on with their football lives without him.
Jarvaris, 15, was fatally shot July 10 in a Publix parking lot in Anderson.
Hykeng, one of Jarvaris' closest friends on the team, remembered how his teammate affected his life.
"He would come up to me and say 'I love my boy Paul.' He used to always say that," Hykeng said. "I never did tell him, but every day, when he would say that, it just made my day. That I got a friend who would come up and tell me that he loved me."
Before the evening practice, the Bears met in the school cafeteria to hear Clemson offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson help the team focus spiritually. Mr. Hutchinson, a former all-state high school player from Greenville, Fla., had experienced the loss of a teammate who was accidentally killed while playing with a gun he didn't know was loaded.
Mr. Hutchinson told the Bears not to take anything for granted.
"You're not promised tomorrow," he said. "You're not promised the next day. You're not promised to walk out that door."
Coach Wayne Green echoed Mr. Hutchinson and assured his team that "something good is going to come of this."
And even after the Bears missed six practices and four 7-on-7 sessions while mourning the loss of Jarvaris, Mr. Green said they can't make up that lost time.
He also said when something bad happens in a family, the survivors must use each other to pull through it.
"I just want them to understand as tragic as this is, and as much as we're all going to grieve and mourn for a while, we still have an awful lot of work to do," he said.
"Our goals and our ambitions as a football team have not changed at all, so our work ethic is going to have to be every bit as strong, if not stronger."
Mr. Green added that memorials in honor of Jarvaris during the season are still in the works. He said he has talked a lot about Jarvaris as a person, but the Bears also will miss his contributions on the field.
As a freshman two years ago, Jarvaris took significant snaps on the undefeated state championship team. This season, he was expected to start on offense, defense and contribute on special teams.
Last season, he was an all-Region 1-AAA defensive back with 48 tackles.
"That's not the thing we're going to miss the most," Mr. Green said. "But his absence physically will be something we're going to have to overcome, too."
The Bears open their season Aug. 25 at Laurens.
"We're going to miss him a lot and we're going to think about him every day," Hykeng said.
"But it's just something that we have to work hard (through) ... but we just can't get down because he wouldn't want us to be down and crying and stuff. He would want us to work hard."