Last year, Keith Shima went into football team's locker room and told them he didn't need them to win as long as they left it all out on the field.
This was just after Shima's son -- after suffering from a reoccurring MRSA infection.
Saturday afternoon Brandon Shima's coaches and teammates, as well as more than 300 friends, family and community members gathered at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
Keith Shima told the Cardinals that he had planned to give them the same message this year -- play your hardest and it doesn't matter if you win or lose -- but then his son's voice popped into his head.
"You are to tell those guys they are my brothers and that I'm there for them," Shima said his son told him. "They deserve it. They are a special group of guys and a team of destiny. And I want state."
Head Football Coach Steve Trivisonno also spoke at the memorial.
"All year, we've done our best -- as a group, as a team, as a family -- to represent Brandon," Trivisonno said.
All year, Cardinals players and fans have used the motto "State for 38" to remember Shima, who wore 38 on the field.
Many of the people who attended the ceremony wore clothes or patches with that motto. The sale of those clothes go to support the .
Brandon used to be called "The Protector," his father said, because he stuck up for kids who were ostracized or excluded. Now, in his memory, Keith Shima uses the foundation to support causes that combat bullying.
"This is our way of making sure his spirit lives on,'' he said.
Keith Shima added that he has been grateful and overwhelmed by the community's support for his family and for Brandon's foundation.
"It makes you realize that you're not in this on your own," Keith Shima said. "Brandon might be my child but he didn't belong just to me. He belonged to Mentor. We all shared him."