Tragedy struck at Friday night's Penn-Carmel 6A Semi-State football game at Carmel.
Eric Paschall, the father of Carmel running back Shakir Paschall, passed away at a Carmel hospital after suffering a medical incident during the 4th quarter of the game, Carmel Athletic Director Jim Inskeep confirms to NewsCenter 16.
"Eric was a personal friend of mine, I've known for 13 years," Carmel football coach Kevin Wright said Saturday. "Loved kids, coached kids. It's a loss to a lot of us because he impacted a lot of lives. We're in the process now of praying for the family and trying to be there for each other and keep moving forward."
Shakir Paschall ended up scoring the game's final touchdown as Carmel defeated Penn 28-13 to advance to the 6A State Finals.
"He had an unbelievable 4th quarter," Wright of Shakir. "He scored the last touchdown and just like he told me, 'my dad passed doing what he loved the most--watching me play.' That's hard. I mean that's hard to take."
Wright says Shakir nor his coaches learned Eric had suffered an apparent heart attack until after the game. Eric would pass away a few hours later at an area hospital.
"The Penn family would like to express our sympathy to Shakir and his family," Penn Athletic Director Ben Karasiak tells NewsCenter 16. "We are so sorry to hear this happened. It's a tragedy."
Other area coaches are giving their support as well. Concord's Tim Dawson saw his Minutemen team win Friday night as well. Concord defeated Mishawaka, a year after losing to the Cavemen in the post-season. For Dawson, the deatth at the Penn-Carmel game is evidence that wins and losses don't mean much in the big picture.
"You hear news like that and it puts things in perspective," Dawson said Saturday. "I said last year to our team [when we lost to Mishawaka], I said 'guys, if this is the toughest thing you have to go through, you will have a great life' because there are tougher things in life that kids have to go through and obviously losing a loved one--I lost my dad this past March--I understand that and my heart goes out to them and our thoughts and prayers are with them."
It was the 3rd medical incident that personnel dealt with at the game Friday night and came after fantastic work to save another man's life.
During the 2nd quarter, the head official and game referee Joe Calderazzo collapsed before a snap. He had to be resuscitated on the field by EMTs and team trainers who did a remarkable job performing CPR. Calderazzo was brought back to life and gave a wave to the crowd as he was stretchered off the field and transported to an area hospital.
Wright says its his understanding that Calderazzo had triple bypass surgery Saturday morning and is now doing better.
"The events of last night's semi state football game provided numerous emotions from all in attendance," Inskeep said. "We are thankful for the City of Carmel first responders and St. Vincent Sports Performance trainers and doctors, who saved the life of referee Joe Calderazzo. Their actions were heroic and performed under extreme pressure with thousands of people watching their every move."
Calderazzo is from Washington, IN.
The 3rd incident happened while Calderazzo was being attended to but was quickly handled by first responders.
WNDU would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family of Shakir Paschall and we'd also like to wish Joe Calderazzo a speedy recovery.