MIDDLETON (WKOW) — Football is a Friday night tradition in communities across Wisconsin, but in Middleton, Friday’s game meant something different for the away team.
The Verona Area High School Wildcats took the field at Middleton High School wearing orange, but their fans were a sea of blue.
“Blue was his favorite color,” said student Rylee Briggs. “He would love it. He would really love it.”
Police say Verona senior Shay Watson was killed Sunday in a shooting at his Fitchburg home. Just days later, and just hours after his visitation, his friends filled the stands at an away game because that’s what they say Shay would have wanted.
“He wouldn’t want us all at home crying, being upset about it,” Briggs said. “He would want us honoring the things he loved, doing the things he loved to do.”
Briggs and Natilie Wierzba knew him and helped spread the word about the blue Friday for Shay.
Verona Area High School did not let him down.
“It doesn’t really surprise me that a lot of people showed up because he was such a good person,” Briggs said.
The tragedy ripples beyond Verona, and Shay’s friends are working to make sure the support does, as well. They’ve organized another blue-out in two weeks when Verona plays Madison West.
“Shay also went to West,” Briggs said. “So we’re trying to get West and Verona to all be wearing blue.”
Hundreds in blue, cheering wildly for the Wildcats on the field and the one in their hearts.
“He always said he was gonna change the world one day,” Briggs said. “And personally, like, I think he did. After what had happened, everybody just came together and was there for each other.”
Shay’s funeral will be Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Fitchburg, followed immediately by a celebration of life. His friends said they’ll be there to support Shay, wearing custom t-shirts and, again, in blue.
Police in Fitchburg are actively looking for the person who killed Shay Watson, and they’re still asking for tips.
Anyone with information should call (608) 270-4321. A GoFundMe for reward money for information leading to an arrest has already topped its $2,500 goal.