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Phoenix football player dies from head trauma

A night that began as a celebratory one ended in tragedy, as Birdlebough's (Phoenix) Ridge Barden died after taking a hit during last Friday's game. The contest had marked Barden's first as a starter for the Firebirds.

After enduring a helmet-to-helmet hit during the third quarter, a conscious yet groggy Barden was taken off the field and to the hospital. Hours later, the 16-year-old junior was pronounced dead in what has since been deemed an accident.

Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.