Family, friends and loved ones recounted memories today of former Heritage High School football star Donovan Adams, who was killed in a horrific car crash on June 6 in Menifee.
Saturday’s memorial service was held at Heritage High School and got underway shortly after 4:30 p.m. with a tailgate in the parking lot.
After tailgating, guests gathered in the bleachers on the football field for the memorial service. During the service, the football team performed its pride drill and a cheer for Adams.
“Today is a celebration of Donovan’s life,” Prodigy Athlete founder and coach Troy Lau said while standing on the school’s football field. “He was a kid that led by example and never cowered away.”
Adams graduated from Heritage High in June of 2011 and recently played football for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Co.
Donovan’s mom Eileen Adams came out to celebrate her son’s life and greet his friends.
“He was one of those kids who just drew you in … always had a smile on his face,” Eileen said. “(He was) just the light of my life and a joy to have.
“We are surrounded by so much love and support from family and friends and just the community,” Eileen said. “I feel very loved and supported by everybody.”
Eight-year-old Tobey Lau looked up to Adams and learned anything and everything about football from him.
“He taught me how to catch, run and play football,” Tobey said. “He was like a brother to me.”
Ray Adams recounted some of the fun times he shared with his younger brother through the years.
“Making fun of each other or teaming up on my sister or my mom was always fun,” Ray said. “And when we were younger playing tag football and hide and go seek in the park.
“I took him shooting a few times, that was always fun,” Ray said.
Heritage High School head football coach Kraig Broach said: “He made individual people feel significant and I can’t say enough good things about him. Donovan meant a lot to this community and this school.”
Great Oak High School graduate Danica Mercado, was a close friend to Adams.
“He was my best friend,” Mercado said while fighting back tears. “He was always smiling and was able to cheer me up when I was having a bad day. Everybody loved him at Heritage. I live in Temecula, he always made it a point to come and see me.”
Daniel Lane is a photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.