Mike Miller will be remembered as a fun-loving teenager with an infectious smile.
And remember him, they will.
The Evergreen Wolverines will play in Miller's memory tonight, and every game night for the rest of the football season, according to coach Sean Tarantola. Miller, a 16-year-old Evergreen junior who started at strong safety, was shot and killed Thursday night by a younger stepbrother, according to investigators.
Tarantola said he met extensively with his players Friday. The team, which includes only 23 varsity players, is very tightly knit.
"It was pretty emotional," he said. "My message was that we should be happy we had the opportunity to meet Mike and get to know him. We want to make sure he's remembered."
Each Evergreen player will wear a helmet sticker with Miller's number 59 on it for tonight's Seamount League game with Lindbergh. Ribbons with the No. 59 are being distributed for the 7 p.m. game at Highline Stadium, and many students will wear T-shirts imprinted with a picture of Miller, who was also a wrestler who qualified for the Class 3A state tournament as a sophomore.
The Wolverines of White Center are 3-0 and off to their best start since 2001, when they won the Seamount League title. Miller's older brother, Tony, a senior, starts at cornerback, and Tarantola said the family was adamant about going ahead with tonight's game.
"I talked with their dad, and he said that Tony wanted to play in honor of his brother," Tarantola said. "He knew that's what Mike would have wanted."
Daylene Boehm, Evergreen athletic director, said Mike Miller was very popular. "He always had a smile on his face," she said.
Tarantola echoed those sentiments.
"Mike was just full of energy," he said. "He had a positive attitude and he was enthusiastic. He did everything full speed. He had a smile on his face all the time. There weren't many people out there who didn't like Mike. He was just a happy guy and full of life, which makes this situation really tough."
Details of the shooting were not immediately clear, but the shooting occurred in the boys' home in South King County. Miller's brother was booked into King County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of manslaughter, said Sgt. John Urquhart, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff's Department.
Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge contributed to this reporter.