When a High School Football Player Passes: A Rememberance for a Friend
On Sunday, Sept. 20, at around 2:30 in the morning, a green Ford Mustang crashed into a silver Chevrolet Impala on the corner of Brighton Avenue and Capisic Street in Portland, Maine. The car was driven by 21-year-old Yannick Mulongo, who was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
Eighteen-year-old high school senior Guy Kitoko was killed.
Guy ran with the tough crowd during his earlier years at Lincoln Middle School and Deering High School, both in Portland. But Kitoko made the honor roll at Deering last school year, and he wanted to join the Marines after he graduated from college.
At the corner of Brighton and Capisic, there was a vigil. Candles, flowers, and T-shirts bearing the name of Kitoko's high school team: The Deering Rams.
The grief was shared by everyone at Deering. All 1,200 students. Including me. Even though I didn't know Guy very well, I knew that he was a talented football player as a wide receiver and special teams player.
Guy was quiet, helpful, and immensely respectful toward other people. He lived in the Riverton Projects, surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and crime. Whenever someone asked Guy about potential trouble that he and his friends might have gotten into, Guy owned up to his part but never implied anyone else.
Guy was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to parents native to Rwanda. Civil war in Congo forced him to flee to the country Benin, then to the state of Georgia, and finally to Maine in 2003.
Guy enjoyed basketball and football, and he was excellent at both. His last name, given to him by his parents, translates to "handsome."
Kitoko's father is currently stricken with cancer. His mother was tending to him when Guy went out on the night of Saturday the 19th. Guy had a curfew but used the likely absence of supervision to stay out past it. That's how he ended up in the Mustang that slid into an Impala.
Mulongo, the car's driver, is a figure well known to the Portland Police Department. Police have yet to bring charges on Mulongo, and the driver of the Impala is in fair condition at Maine Medical Center.
In honor of Kitoko, all Deering Rams football players will wear his uniform number on their helmets this Friday’s game against the Windham High School Eagles. Guy's last game for the Rams was on Sept. 17, against the Bonny Eagle High School Scots.
Guy Kitoko: friend, classmate, football player, brother, son. Dead at 18.
Rest in peace.
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