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'I pray for him' | In the midst of a magical season, Riverside continues to honor teammate killed in crash

Michael Walton Jr. was killed in a hit-and-run crash in September while on his way to take the ACT. The Generals retired his No. 2 jersey this year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One team. One goal.

It's what the Riverside Generals boys basketball team chants before the start of practice. 

Vibrant red roses in the shape of a two bloom over the Generals as they break the huddle. A spiritual presence, that's helped lead Riverside to its third straight district championship. 

"Every time we look at that No. 2 we just think of him and we miss him tremendously," Riverside head coach David Jones said. 

In September, Riverside senior Michael Walton Jr. was killed in a hit-and-run crash while he was on his way to take the A-C-T.

RELATED: Grieving father calls out hit-and-run driver involved in Riverside High School student's death

"We were sitting in the corner one day and he said, 'I'm not practicing until I get my homework done.' So he was a student first before an athlete," Generals guard Montez Dunson said.

Walton's life was taken before it could truly take off. 

"Me and Mike had a conversation [the week before he died]. I explained to him people don't have to believe in you you have to believe in yourself," Jones said. "He was very positive. He was tremendously looking forward to his senior year because he had gotten a lot better than he was the year before, and he was looking forward to being a major contributor to the team."

Walton's teammates described him as a kid who always had a smile on his face and a young man of faith. 

"He was really big on God," guard and forward Dominick Scott remembered, "He used to send bible scriptures to our group chats."

"Every game, before the game, I pray by myself and with the team I pray for him, pray for us, and for everybody," Dunson said. 

The driver who killed Walton in the crash has still not been found. Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You may also call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

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