MONTAGUE – Aaron Rolf helped carry the old No. 53 Montague football jersey belonging to Bob Darke into Townsend Athletic Complex Friday night.
Rolf was clinging to that jersey as he left the field, too, following the Wildcats’ emphatic and emotional 33-7 victory over Oakridge.
Darke was like a father to Rolf, a senior starting defensive end and reserve offensive guard for Montague’s football team. Darke died in his sleep on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the age of 46. He was engaged to be married to Rolf’s mother, Jennifer. Aaron Rolf and others call Darke his “stepdad.”
It’s been a very tough stretch for Rolf and his family. Darke, of Rothbury, was laid to rest on Thursday. Prior to that, Jennifer Rolf lost both of her parents, Aaron’s grandparents.
On Friday, Aaron Rolf and the Wildcats battled hard and they played in memory of Darke, a former Montague football player.
According to his obituary, Darke served in the U.S. Navy and he was honorably discharged in 2001. He was employed in the lawn-care and snow-removal business in the Rothbury and Montague areas for several years. In his free time, he enjoyed hunting, fishing and watching NASCAR and drag races. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family, including his stepson along with nieces and nephews.
Darke is also survived by brothers LaVern Darke, Dennis Darke, William Darke and Stephen Darke, and mother Susan Darke.
Watch the video above to see the emotion from Rolf and his team, and to hear from Rolf, teammate Tugg Nichols and Wildcats head coach Justin Dennett.
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