Last Tuesday at Brice Methodist Church, friends and family members mourned the loss of Olaju "O.J." Green, a 2009 Canal Winchester High School graduate who was headed to Otterbein where he planned to play football.

Last Tuesday at Brice Methodist Church, friends and family members mourned the loss of Olaju "O.J." Green, a 2009 Canal Winchester High School graduate who was headed to Otterbein where he planned to play football.

He was laid to rest last Wednesday in Cambridge, where his family used to reside. Green died shortly after 10 a.m. July 23 when the car he was driving veered off Winchester Pike and struck a tree. There were no passengers in the car at the time of the crash.

Green recently had been experiencing blackouts and there is speculation that he may have blacked out shortly before his car went off the road. The family said it is waiting on autopsy results.

"He was very well-liked and well-respected," Canal Winchester football coach and health and wellness teacher Phil Mauro said.

Green was a captain of the football team last season, playing fullback and linebacker and helping the Indians to a 9-2 record and a Division III playoff appearance. He was second on the team in tackles (102) and helped lead a defense that allowed an average of just 9.6 points per game.

Green also was an outfielder for the baseball team in 2008 when the Indians reached the Division II state final, where they lost to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 6-0.

"O.J. was the ultimate team player," Mauro said. "He was one of the most unselfish, team-oriented and hard-working players I've ever had the privilege of coaching. He was an offensive guard, then we moved him to fullback. He only got a few touches, but he never worried about it. He also did an outstanding job at linebacker. If every player was like O.J., it would make my job that much easier."

Mauro said no player will wear No. 35, the number Green wore, in the coming season and that the team is planning to do something to commemorate Green, though nothing specific has been determined yet.

Green, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, also was a budding artist. His artwork often was displayed in the school and around the community, and he planned to continue his passion at Otterbein.

"He was a tremendous artist" Mauro said. "He always had something on display. He's just a great role model for our younger guys.

He's really going to be missed by the Canal Winchester community and the football family."

Green is survived by his father, Robert; mother, Suzanne; and three siblings.