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Double Tragedy at Cosumnes Oaks High

A popular football player is dead and a classmate lies critically injured in a local hospital as homecoming game approaches.

Homecoming is supposed to be a happy, exciting time. At , Friday night’s big home game against Union Mine High School will even be televised on Comcast.

But the atmosphere at Cosumnes Oaks is anything but festive this week as students cope with the death of a popular football player and a traffic accident Wednesday that left another classmate critically injured.

Friday’s game will serve in part as a memorial for Jurelle Davis, 15, a sophomore defensive back on the junior varsity team. Davis suffered an asthma attack and then a heart attack while at home on Monday, school district officials said, and passed away at U.C. Davis Medical Center early Thursday morning. His coach said that while Davis had long struggled with asthma and other health problems, including Crohn’s disease, his death still came as a shock.

“He was an undersized kid who played with a lot of heart,” said head football coach Ryan Gomes. “They cleared him medically to play and he was ecstatic because he loved the game.”

Gomes said he had been bombarded with email messages from teachers, parents and students about how the quiet, studious young man had touched their lives.  Members of the team have signed two footballs that will be presented to Davis’s family at Friday’s game, along with his jersey.  Weeks of meals have been organized for the  family, Gomes said, and a Facebook memorial page already had close to 1,200 fans Thursday afternoon.

The death has affected not only Davis’s teammates and friends, but a wide swathe of the student body at the tight-knit high school, one of the smaller ones in the .

On Thursday, many students wore white ribbons to school in honor of Davis and a 14-year-old classmate who was struck by an SUV while biking near the school Wednesday.

Authorities did not release the name of the other student, but notices on Facebook and at the school identified him as freshman Thomas Mutz. He was listed in critical condition Thursday, and Elk Grove police said they were still trying to determine what caused the SUV to knock him off his bike, then run him over near the intersection of Laguna Springs Drive and Civic Center Drive.

Police said the cyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and the driver, a woman, was cooperating with the investigation and didn’t show any signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol.

Sophomore Timmy Winslow, 15, didn’t know either student well but was sporting a white ribbon Thursday.

“We’re trying to be like a family as a school and we’re all going to wear them to the game tomorrow,” he said.

“A lot of the football players are really taking it hard, ‘cause they’re like brothers,” he added.

In the school library, students scribbled messages on giant displays decorated with photos of both students. Counselors stood by with Kleenex and comforting words.

“We’re trying to provide an outlet for some of the emotions,” said head counselor Dorie Baker. “We talk to them about how to take what they’re feeling and give back to these families that are hurting.

“They do want to give back, and they’re ready to act. That speaks to the type of students we have here.” 

Ashley Weiss September 23, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Even though i did not know either boy, i am a senior at CO and it has effected all of us greatly. Being apart of the school news, i learned everything and everytime i see jurelles memorial and a poster for thomas i get a little sad inside. neither boy will see what we get to see and that makes me greatful. I know we can all pull together and make this a special time to honor the boys. But it is still hard, no matter what. They live in my heart.
Felicia Mello September 23, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Thanks for the comment, Ashley. In January, we ran a story about the small size of the student body at Cosumnes Oaks compared to other Elk Grove high schools. Here's the link: http://patch.com/A-dv0M. It seems that maybe one of the benefits of having fewer students is that the community becomes closer, and students are more likely to know each other and to support each other in a tough time like this. What do other Cosumnes Oaks students and parents think about that?
Linda Seddon September 23, 2011 at 10:07 PM
I know Tom Mutz. While my son does not attend CO, he met Tom through a mutual friend and has played with him on numerous occasions. He is a very delightful boy. We are all so saddened by what has happened and are pulling hard for his recovery. My sincere condolences to the family of Jurelle. I am so sorry for their loss.
Dana Hall September 23, 2011 at 10:24 PM
The school is much larger this year, partly because boundaries were changed. My older son graduated from Franklin last year, but with a boundary change, my younger son is a freshman at Cosumnes High. Cosumnes is a great school. We knew it would be because we knew the principal, Mr. Mc Dougall from our son's time at Toby Johnson. My son told me the news when I picked him up at school Thursday. My son was really sad. Coach Gomes is one of my son's teachers, and told the class first hand. Although we don't know either boy, they are family. Having two sons myself, I cried when he told me the news. Our prayers are with Tommy and the families of both boys. Elk Grove is a small community, tragedies such as these effect our community as a whole, no matter what school the kids attend. Please pray for Tommy and both families.
Ashley Schwegerl September 24, 2011 at 03:54 AM
I am a freshman at CO and I think I speak for the entire school when I say that this has been a devastating week. Though I did not know Jurelle, I did know Tom. He was in my 3rd period Bio class, and I still remember the day we were partners in a lab where we had to put a gummi worm inside of a gummi lifesaver using only a few paperclips. In that brief time of meeting him, I could tell that Tom was an amazing guy. My heart goes out to those who knew Jurelle and Tom personally, as well as their families. This has been a rough homecoming week, but our school is closer than ever and we are pulling through. This just proves that there IS strength in a pack.
nene October 17, 2011 at 06:20 AM
I do not go to consumnes but i knew jurelle through a mutual friend, but ive known tom really well since i went to pinkerton for 2 years I wish i went to consumnes since he was part of our group of friends, and we need eachother. His smile said enough about him so did his eyes truthful, sweet, and innocent He was never put down by the people who made fun of him. He never judged anyone <3 Rip tom and jurelle All ur friends love u and miss u terribly
Marlene Johnson September 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I am Tom Mutz's grandmother and feel the pain everyday with the loss of my grandson. He was a very special boy with a kind heart and treated everyone with kindness. He would always stick up for the underdog and see the good in them. It is almost a year since his passing and not one day went by without me thinking of him. I did not know Jurell, but know the pain and sorrow that his family suffered at his unexpected death. He was in the next room at the hospital with my grandson.hopefully some peace will come to both families..'I LOVE YOU TOM'......
twon February 27, 2013 at 02:19 AM
We are moving to CA. My two boys are very good athletes. We live in the Baltimore MD area. They will be going to the school at which these two tragedies happened. We are so sorry to hear such a story! Our prayers go out to both families. We are also hoping that there is room on the basketball team and football team for my two sons.

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