CROSS PLAINS, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Driving through Cross Plains, you can almost feel the weight of this tight-knit community mourning the loss of one of their own. While most school districts are busy preparing for a new school year, Cross Plains ISD is at a standstill. 

Ryan Hopkins was an 18-year-old student and athlete who set many school records. 

“He was a phenomenal, phenomenal athlete… He’s the fastest kid I ever coached,” said Coach Daniel Purvis, head of football and track at Cross Plains ISD. 

But for Coach Purvis, Hopkins was even more than that. 

“He was a good kid,” Coach Purvis accounted. “He always had a smile on his face. Everyone loved to be around him.”

It’s the same song for so many in Cross Plains, as they say Hopkins was known as the ‘popular kid’ in school. His sister gave wrote us the following statement: 

“Ryan was the most wonderful, athletic, courageous, most handsomeness human being. He was the type of person if you would call him he would be there in a heart beat. If you needed any help he would be the person to be there. If you needed a shoulder to cry on it was him. He made everyone feel like they were welcome at home. Ryan Hopkins was the most outstanding person.” 

Images below provided by Samantha Roberts, best known to Ryan Hopkins as ‘Aunt Sam

The loss of the talented athlete has led many residents in Cross Plains to feelings of devastation.

“We’re trying to be strong for these kids because we know they’re going through the same thing, but it’s like losing one of your own kids,” Coach Purvis said.

Hopkins lost his life tragically as the result of an accident that happened on Sunday morning, right before school year and football season. 

“I’m worried about it, but hopefully it’ll pull us together,” Coach Purvis explained with ambition. 

Superintendent Dade Cosby told KTAB/KRBC he is preparing his teachers to let the students grieve and to be flexible. 

“We’re not supposed to be bulletproof. We’re not supposed to ask our kids to let it go,” said Superintendent Cosby. 

Many students and residents came together at the high school to honor Hopkins life, by turning on the lights at the stadium. 

Images below provided by Cross Plains ISD

Superintendent Cosby continued, “What better place than the football field to do something like that?”

Now, the community is trying to help the family through donations, and someone has already covered funeral charges. 

Superintendent Cosby said Hopkins will be thought about a lot during what should have been his senior year, and he has something he wish he could say to the young man: 

“I think the only think we could say to Ryan is that we love him and we’ll miss him,” Superintendent Cosby offered. 

The wreck actually consisted of two cross plains students, but the other student is recovering from a broken leg in the hospital.

The school decided to cancel the football scrimmage planned for Friday night, and are offering grief counseling for students and teachers at the high school for all ages.

Cross Plains High School’s first football game is an away game, scheduled August 26 against Winters High School.

Click here to help support Ryan’s parents, Katherine and Joseph.