The Red Bank Regional community came together as one, in a sea of maroon, on Monday night to honor the life of a Buc cut tragically short.
Almost every person in the student stands wore a "Buc 4 Life" shirt to honor 18-year-old Albert Martin, who died earlier this month after he collapsed on the basketball court.
Martin's extended family came out for the season opener against Red Bank Catholic, where the Bucs retired Martin's number, 34.
"He was phenomenal," said family member Celestine Stone of Red Bank. Stone beamed when she spoke of Martin just before the start the ceremony. "He was a beautiful soul. God takes the good first," she said.
RBR Athletic Director Del Dal Pra presented Martin's mother Tracy Dixon with Martin's home jersey saying that no RBR athlete, girl or boy, will ever wear the number 34 again. Martin's away jersey will hang in the hallway of the high school.
Fighting back tears, DalPra said, "When our day is tough, we'll know to do our best, because that's what he would do and that's what he demands of us."
Principal Risa Clay also presented Dixon with Martin's varsity jacket and Sen. Jennifer Beck presented a state resolution, permanently honoring "the contribution this beautiful, beautiful young man made to this community."
The Jersey Shore Board, also made a presentation of flowers to Dixon.
The final remarks came, with tears, from basketball coach Scott Martin, who called his player "a fallen son."
"Not a day goes by when we don't think of him and wish he was still with us."
To the players in the gym waiting anxiously to get on the court for the first time this season, Martin said, "Whether you are a Casey or a Buc, play hard tonight, for Albert."