Cesar Chavez HS kicks off football season without teammate who drowned on school trip

Every Cesar Chavez player had #5 on the back of their helmet to honor their teammate, Chris Hampton, who drowned in a lake during a school trip to Show Low.
Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 6:16 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - There’s always a lot of emotion in the air right before kick-off, but this was different. Players and coaches are feeling the pain and heartache of not having a beloved teammate on the field for the first game of the season at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix. “It’s a bittersweet moment,” said parent Roman Navarro. “Chris was very loved. He was part of our family.”

Last month, 15-year-old Chris Hampton drowned in a lake during a school trip in Show Low. Hampton and some teammates were attending a football camp. Friday night’s game against Chandler High School was a chance for friends and fans to show their love for Chris and support his family.

Every Cesar Chavez player had Chris’ number 5 on the back of their helmet. “We just saw his number out there, so it hit home,” said parent Sonya Hernandez. “It’s very emotional.” “Nervous and emotional,” added parent Heather Cozart. “He was one of my son’s friends, and he misses him, so we will dedicate the season to him and get through this.”

There were no empty seats or dry eyes at World Life Church in Chandler as loved ones gathered to honor and remember 15-year-old Christopher Hampton.

Shortly after Chris’ death, Arizona’s Family spoke to Chris’ family members, who still have many questions about how the teen died and who was watching the kids when it happened.

The Phoenix Union High School District put the head football coach and other staff members on leave pending an internal investigation. An interim head coach was put in place and is currently coaching the team.

The principal of CCHS had also been placed on leave, but he returned to campus this week. “Them getting back on the field is helping them heal a lot faster,” said parent McKenneth Woodbury.” We will never forget Chris; not possible. He will always be in the back of our minds and be on the field with them.”

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