Kylin Polhill, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle, was apparently playing basketball at a Newark grammar school when he collapsed and died a day later. Autopsy results were still pending Tuesday night.
Polhill never played organized football before this season and had moved into the regular rotation at Marist.
Marist head coach Juan Garcia said that Polhill’s teammates were in shock Tuesday. Garcia met with some of them early Tuesday morning and gave the team the day off. They will return to the practice field Wednesday in preparation for Saturday night’s game against Ferris of Jersey City.
“He was very dedicated,” Marist head coach Juan Garcia said. “At first, he came to us, weighing 300 pounds and he couldn’t even run a single lap. But lately, he was finally getting it and was able to get on the field and make a contribution.”
Garcia has one lasting memory of Polhill.
“The best memory I have of Ky is his smile,” said Garcia, who is one of the youngest head coaches in New Jersey at only 27 years old. “No matter what the kid did, he always had a smile on his face. I think we’re going to put the pain behind us and do it for him on the field. I asked them all today if they wanted to play and they all wanted to do it for Ky. We should all think of him all the time. We should always give one more play, one more rep, one more lap for Ky."
Read more about the loss of Polhill in Jim Hague's Scoreboard column in Sunday's editions.