Haynes remembered fondly by Woodbridge community: Friends, ex-teammates mourn loss of star quarterback

Troy Haynes, right, joins Woodbridge coach Jed Bell at the Philadelphia Eagles preseason game against Tennessee on Aug. 8, as the Eagles honored Troy prior to the game. Troy, along with family members and teammates, met some of the Eagles players and spent time on the sidelines during pregame warmups. He was given his own No. 4 Eagles jersey with “Haynes” stitched across the back. Submitted photo

BRIDGEVILLE — Jed Bell has many fond memories of Troy Haynes.

As a young child, Haynes spent his fall Friday nights on the Woodbridge High sidelines.

Bell, in his first year as the Woodbridge High head football coach after previously serving as an assistant coach, recalls watching a young Haynes throwing around the football before games.

“His dad is an assistant coach here, so he was always around the team before he was even in high school,” Bell said. “I always think back and remember him being out on our field and during warmups chucking the high school-sized football 30 yards down the field when he was 11 or 12 years old and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, we might have a quarterback here down the road.’”

Haynes, diagnosed with kidney cancer in April, passed away on Sunday. He was just a week removed from celebrating his 19th birthday and had been receiving treatment in Texas.

“If I had a son, I would want him to be like Troy,” Bell said. “If you think of the characteristics that you would want in a perfect human being, that’s Troy in a nutshell.”

The 2019 Woodbridge graduate was the Blue Raiders’ four-year starting quarterback and was a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond, as well.

Family members, friends, former teammates and coaches, and community members all took to social media Sunday night and Monday to offer condolences to the Haynes family and share stories and photos of their fondest memories of Troy.

University of Delaware football coach Danny Rocco, before starting his weekly media lunch on Monday, offered condolences to Haynes’ family and the Woodbridge community.

Troy Haynes, left, started at quarterback four straight years for Woodbridge. While his on-field accomplishments were impressive, his infectious smile and humble attitude is what he’ll be remembered for most. Delaware State News file photos

“He’s brought a whole community together, and I would take it even further and say the whole state,” said Bell. “It seems like everyone and their brother has reached out and offered some type of condolences, so it’s a reminder of who Troy was and how special he is. I think at the end of the day that’s what we’re going to remember him by.”

The Troy Haynes Fund, a GoFundMe page launched on April 27, reeled in over $45,000 for the family to cover medical expenses, travel expenses, etc.

After taking over at QB in the third week of his freshman season in 2015, Haynes never missed a start and accumulated a record of 38-8, including the state tournament.

He racked up 3,384 passing yards, 66 total touchdowns (51 passing, 15 rushing) and threw just 16 interceptions in those 46 games, leading the Blue Raiders to a pair of DIAA Division II state championship victories in 2016 and ’18.

While his on-field accomplishments were impressive, his infectious smile and humble attitude is what he’ll be remembered for most.

Even after making a big play in a key game, Haynes was always quick to give the credit to his teammates and coaches.

Shortly after his initial diagnosis in the spring, the “Fight Like 4” mantra was coined, and it quickly spread across the state. The “4” refers to Troy’s jersey number worn throughout his high school career.

The rallying cry even made its way up to Philadelphia, where the Eagles honored him prior to a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 8.

Troy, along with his family members and teammates, had the chance to meet some of the Eagles players and be on the sidelines during pregame warmups. He was even given his own No. 4 Eagles jersey with “Haynes” stitched across the back.

“He’s had some great experiences over the last four, five, six months during this fight, that I know he was extremely appreciative and grateful for,” said Bell.

Seeing Troy’s smile that day in Philly is what it’s all about for Bell.

The fight Troy had in him was on full display when he walked across the football field to receive his diploma at his June 2 graduation despite being in the thick of his bout with the disease.

The original plan was for him to be pushed in a wheelchair, but Troy changed his mind and sent Bell a text saying he’d like to walk on his own.

He received a standing ovation from his fellow graduating seniors and everyone in attendance.

“His big thing throughout all this was he wanted to prove the doubters wrong and try to serve as an inspiration for people,” said Bell. “I definitely think he did that and then some. The graduation was really important to him and special for him, as it would be for any high school senior.”

While dealing with the tragic loss, Bell and the Woodbridge coaching staff and players still have to prepare for their upcoming Week 5 game against undefeated Archmere Academy. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at home.

As the program has done all season, they’ll be dedicating the game — and every game from here on out — to their former leader.

“We’re hurting right now, that’s for sure,” said Bell. “We’re leaning on each other pretty hard, as you could imagine. That’s what we need right now. We’re going to keep doing things the way we do them, obviously with some consideration for what has happened, of course.

“But we’re going to go about our week as we would and just use this little bit of extra incentive to play a little harder from here on out. We’re going to play for him every single snap.”

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