It took four days for a positive ID but police confirmed Thursday that Evan Sobecki, 24, of Granger was killed in a car accident on Sunday morning.
He was a 2006 Penn High School graduate and former star football player.
The accident happened near Redfield and Fir Road in Cass County, just north of the state line. Early Sunday morning police found Sobecki in an SUV that was fully engulfed in flames. An investigation revealed the SUV left the roadway and crashed into a tree. Sobecki was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say they were waiting on dental records to positively ID Sobecki but it was news many close to Sobecki already knew.
"Before church there was a buzz in the air that maybe we lost one of our former players," Penn football coach Cory Yeoman says remembering how he found out about Evan's death on Sunday. "Unfortunately it was true and it was Evan---it was devastating.
"As a parent, your heart sinks--you can't even fathom something like this."
Sobecki was a standout football player for the Kingsmen, playing in the state title game in 2003. As a junior---he was one of Penn's best players----a running back who ran for glory every Friday night.
"Great work ethic," Yeoman recalls of Sobecki, who went on to play at Wabash. "Stayed out late to do the extra stuff that other guys weren't willing to do to become special and that's what he did."
Just before his senior season, Evan seriously injured his knee.
"Most guys would have tanked it," Yeoman says. "Evan saw it as an opportunity to lead in another way. He led his buddies, and somehow, someway rehabbed himself and played at the end of the season which was unbelievable--unbelievable recovery but if anyone could pull that off it was Evan and Evan did."
Sobecki was part of a special football family. His two brothers also played in state championship games at Penn.
Yeoman is quick to point out there was more to who Evan was than athletics.
"If you think of Evan Sobecki the football player you are not doing him justice--he was an outstanding young man," Yeoman says.
"He had one of those smiles and how electric of a young man he was. He was a special guy. He walked in the room--everyone would smile and he was one of those guys. He was a great friend to a lot of guys and a heck of a person."
Visitation for Sobecki will be held Friday from 3-8pm at Granger Missionary. Funeral Services will be Saturday at 11am at Granger Missionary.