Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
Football standout Jaquis Jones was remembered by hundreds of students and parents at Carrollton's Newman Smith High School on Saturday night.
A Carrollton high school and community is in mourning this weekend after the drowning death of a star football player who attended an end-of-the-year party on Lewisville Lake.
Football standout Jaquis Jones, 17, went under the water near the Pier 21 Marina around 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
On Saturday night at Newman Smith High School, hundreds of teammates, classmates, parents and faculty attended a candlelight vigil in Jones' honor.
Head football coach Paul Ressa said Jones was a larger than life personality who other kids gravitated toward and that he'll be sorely missed.
"When somebody hurts that's our family, that's just like my sons at home, my wife at home, my mother, my dad, it's family to us and it really, really hits to the core," Ressa said.
Ressa addressed the large gathering at the football field. It was so large he encouraged students to break into groups to talk about their friend and mourn his life.
Jones' mother was in attendance and visibly distraught. Ressa says she's a strong woman who is understandably devastated at the loss of her son.
Teammates wore pink bandannas, something Jones use to walk around with at school all the time. His locker remained untouched, adorned with photos, his jersey, cleats and helmet. Ressa says they'll leave the locker up all season long to honor him.
Friend and teammate David Vazquez says he was a huge leader on the team who always kept others' spirits up.
"He was like a brother, that I couldn't ask for," Vazquez said. "Everybody looks for that friend who gets them smiling, that gets them through the day. He was there for you."
And while he will no longer be there in person, Vazquez and Ressa say he'll be there in spirit this season and long after.
"He's going to be there for us, he'll be there in the middle of the field with us," Vazquez said.
"He was a huge light in every room, kids loved him, kids gravitated to him," Ressa said.
Ressa said Jones was recently offered a college football scholarship at New Mexico State.
Firefighters pulled Jones from the water and paramedics started CPR while taking him to a local hospital.
Jones was pronounced dead Medical Center of Lewisville according to the medical examiner.
This was the second Newman Smith student to die this school year, the sixth in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District. Gerson Lagunez, 16, collapsed suddenly on March 15 while walking home after playing ultimate Frisbee with friends.