ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A 14-year-old freshman at Northeast High School was tragically found dead at home this week.
Ruben Marcano had a bright future ahead of him, especially on the football field. He was new to the game but had size and work ethic, according to his coach.
“He came right out and worked. He was a big New England Patriots fan and he loved football and wanted to be good at it and he earned a starting defensive tackle position after only two days on the roster,” said coach Jeremy Frioud.
He was nicknamed “Big 72.”
“In his sole game he got to play in, he dominated the line of scrimmage,” continued Frioud.
Ruben’s official cause of death remains unknown.
The rest of the Northeast High football season will be dedicated in his honor.
“The mindset is what Ruben would want. What he would want is to go out and play as hard as they could and do as well as they could in life,” the coach added.
“It was really upsetting,” offered junior classmate Sophia Stone.
“He was so young and he had played his first high school football game and his last and he had so much ahead of him,” she said. “He only got to experience the high school life for two weeks.”
School officials said they will hold a moment of silence for him during their next home game on September 7. T-shirts will also be sold in Rueben's memory and all the proceeds will go to his family.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story referenced a comment on the cause of Rueben’s death, which has since been retracted. This version has been updated.