The field is empty now, but on Saturday, Herkimer and Little Falls will be playing to win, but both will be unified in their quest to collect “Coins for Connor.”

by Dave Warner

This Saturday, September 28, Little Falls and Herkimer will renew a longtime rivalry on the football field. The Mounties and the Magicians will face off for the first time since the opening game of the 2017 season.

One of the captains of that 2017 team was Connor Gage. Connor had previously attended Herkimer and played modified football for the Magicians. Connor tragically died in February of 2019, while a freshman at the University of Vermont.

In memory of Connor, the “Never Walk Alone Fund” was founded by friends and family which, among other things, benefits both districts through a scholarship awarded at graduation.

This week both school communities are unifying to raise money by collecting “Coins for Connor.” Each school is collecting change all week and the total amount raised will be donated to Connor’s scholarship fund.

According to Little Falls Assistant District Superintendent and Athletic Director Bart Tooley, “We called it Coins for Connor. It pits Little Falls against Herkimer since he went to both schools. Grades 6th through 8th are having their own contest between the two middle schools with the principals and then grades 9 through 12.”

“The idea is that the principal from the school that raises the least amount of money has to wear the jersey from the team that raised the most amount of money. We’re doing the contest this week, then we’re going to tally up on Friday and do a big reveal before the kickoff on Saturday,” he said.

They are looking for students to bring in coins, pocket change, etc. “At the high school, we’re actually doing a contest where the class that raises the most amount of money is going to win an ice cream sundae party during their homeroom in the next couple of week,” said Tooley.

The money will go towards the scholarship fund which is in Connor’s memory. “A scholarship to be given both in Little Falls and in Herkimer at graduation,” he said.

In addition, there will be a “Cans for Connor” food drive at the game with the donations benefiting the food pantries of both Little Falls and Herkimer. The schools are asking attendees to bring a non-perishable food item to place in the bins that will be available for donations.

The game starts at 1 pm at the high school.