PALMETTO -- When Palmetto charged out of its locker room and through an inflatable tunnel before its spring game Friday against St. Petersburg at Harllee Stadium, the Tigers were reminded of a former teammate whose life was cut short less than five months earlier.
In the corner of the end zone, on the left side nearest the home bleachers, stood a 25-foot. inflatable tiger straddling a tunnel. On one side, the tunnel read: "In Memory of Kyle O'Halloran #4."
The former Tiger was killed on Christmas Day during what police reports say was a drug deal gone wrong. Roberto Betancourt and two others pulled into O'Halloran's driveway to buy marijuana, according to reports. Betancourt drove off without paying for the marijuana, and O'Halloran held on to the car as it pulled away until he fell off. He later died of head trauma.
"Regardless of what everybody says, regardless of what happened, Kyle was a good kid. He brought a lot to this school," said his father, Brian O'Halloran, who has denied the police report
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claims. "He's missed. You can see he's missed."
Brian O'Halloran said he and his family originally didn't want to come to the spring game, but was appreciative of the support from the Palmetto community. At halftime, Brian O'Halloran was presented with a framed No. 4 jersey and was recognized at midfield.
Balloons were released, and Brian O'Halloran held his granddaughter, Paitynn O'Halloran, Kyle's daughter, above his head. The crowd cheered, and she clapped as cheerleaders danced behind her.
"We'll still be around," O'Halloran said, "bringing another generation, I guess."