When Rivets righthander Nick Kamrada takes the hill, the fans see No. 27 throwing his customary sinker/slider combination, and trying to use this summer to advance his career at Ohio University. But when Kamrada pulls on that uniform each day, it means so much more.
“My sophomore year of high school in Marquette, Michigan, my best friend (Jake Prevost) was killed in a four-wheeling accident, and he was No. 27 on our football team,” Kamrada said. “We were the closest of friends. I mean, our group of friends was basically inseparable and the best group of people you could possibly imagine, so we mourned his death very heavily, and it’s just a great honor to wear his number.”
Kamrada recollected on the day of the incident, “We were getting ready for football practice, and I had just gotten my license, so I was gonna drive him to practice, but he didn’t answer my phone call, so I just figured he had gotten a ride from someone else. I went to football practice and he never showed up, and then his dad came up to us at the end of football practice and just told us that Jake was in a four-wheeling accident and was gone.”
Kamrada said he was not the only one shocked by the news.
“Everyone in the whole school loved Jake,” Kamrada said. “We all rallied around each other for him that season and actually ended up going undefeated (10-0) that year, and we constantly said, ‘Do it for Jake,’ during that whole season.”
Kamrada recalled the difficult time after Prevost’s death for his friend’s family, “It was quite emotional. We went to his funeral service and I remember this like it was yesterday. I went up and gave his mother a hug and she just broke down in my arms, sobbing and it was just such a powerful moment. I’ve never experienced anything like Jake’s service. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people at his funeral. Football teams from all over the area all showed up in their uniforms to be there for his funeral service. We all signed a football, and I got to tuck it under his right arm since he was a running back. I’m glad I was able to be there to help them during that time.”
Kamrada remains close with the family to this day.
“Anytime I go back home, I make it a point to make a lunch date with them, and kinda keep up with them as if they were my own family,” he said.
Kamrada said he feels something special each day when he puts the uniform with his best friend’s number on the back.
“Every time I get it, I take a moment to look at it, and just remember Jake and all the times we had together, and I tell him, ‘I’m gonna put this on and I’m gonna play for you,’” he said.