Tragedy overcame the joy of the first full week of high school football Friday when an official collapsed and died during halftime of a game between Rampart and visiting Woodland Park at District 20 Stadium.
The 61-year-old official, a graduate of Cheyenne Mountain, had served on the Colorado Springs Football Officials Association for nearly 15 years.
Crew chief George Demetriou confirmed the man's passing late Friday while joining family at Penrose-St. Francis Hospital. He didn’t notice signs of distress from the official during the game’s first half or the 15-minute intermission.
“There was absolutely no sign that anything was amiss,” said Demetriou, the game’s referee, who was enshrined into the National High School Hall of Fame earlier this summer. “We were just getting ready to go back on the field to start the second half. He got up from his chair, and then he crashed. At first, I thought he just missed his chair.”
At the time the official collapsed, the game had been postponed with Rampart leading Woodland Park 28-0. The game resumed Saturday morning, with Rampart claiming a 40-7 victory.
“The crew was pretty shaken up,” Rampart athletic director Andy Parks said, shortly after the postponement was made official. “This brings you back to reality, really quickly.”
Editor's note: The original Gazette story identified the official, but The Gazette has removed his name at the request of his family.