For a few silent moments the football rivalry between Lely and Golden Gate high schools will be sidelined on Friday night.
In its place, fans of both teams will mark a shared tragedy before the game begins.
On Sunday, Dehvohn Payne, a 17-year-old Lely sophomore, and Janelle Sansion, a 16-year-old junior at Golden Gate, died from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle collision on Interstate 75’s Alligator Alley. Payne and Sansion were cousins.
Before players take the field at Lely’s homecoming game, there will be a moment of silence to honor Payne and Sansion around 7:15 p.m.
Lely football players will wear the initials “DP” on their helmets for the remainder of the season to remember their teammate, Payne, who played for the JV squad.
Those letters will be on the opposite side from where “EP” is worn in remembrance of Ereck Plancher, former star Lely football player who died in 2008 at the end of football conditioning drills at Central Florida University.
Lely football coach David Miller said Payne, a troubled student his freshman year, was beginning to mature through his participation in football as a sophomore.
“Dehvohn really had changed his life for the better,” Miller said. “This is a tragic loss for the program and the school.”
Students of both schools have been mourning the loss of their classmates since news spread of their deaths.
On Sunday, the cousins were on their way home from a youth retreat in Fort Lauderdale with their mothers, Pamela Sansion and Luvisca Payne.
Luvisca Payne lost control of the Ford Explorer she was driving when a tire blew. The vehicle struck a guardrail.
Dehvohn and Janelle were ejected from the vehicle over a concrete wall. Neither was wearing a seat belt.
Janelle died at the scene. Dehvohn was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Their mothers were both transported to NCH Downtown in Naples for injuries, but have been released.
“They are both emotionally distraught, but are physically improving day-by-day,” said Dehvohn’s father, Brian Payne, who lives in Indiana.
He said the family is still “getting acclimated” to the sudden tragedy.
Funeral services for Dehvohn and Janelle will be held at Living Word Family Church at 10910 Immokalee Road in North Naples on Sunday, Oct. 3. There will be a viewing at 1 p.m. A service will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Donations to the family can be made through Fifth Third Bank at 7595 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL. 34119. The account is through Golden Gate Seventh Day Adventist Church in care of Dehvohn Payne and Janelle Sansion.