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Ark City football team forfeits playoff game following player’s death in N. Oklahoma crash

Ark City's Rhett Lathers
Ark City's Rhett Lathers(©KellyRoss | Kelly Ross)
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 7:07 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Ark City High School football team is cutting its season at least one game short after a player died in a Tuesday night crash near Newkirk in Kay County, Oklahoma. The report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol didn’t name the Ark City teen killed in the crash as he was 17 years old, still a minor.

in a statement shared by McPherson High School on Twitter announcing the cancelation of Friday’s game against Ark City, the message extends thoughts and prayers for the family of Rhett Lathers. Lathers was a senior. Last season, He was part of the Ark City team that upset McPherson in the Class 4A state semifinal game on its way to a state runner-up finish.

“There are bigger things in life than the game,” McPherson’s statement said about Friday’s cancelation. “This is one of those times. Our thoughts are prayers go out to the Rhett Lathers family, the Ark City football program, the students at Ark City High School, and Ark City community.”

The crash report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Lathers, identified in the report as a 17-year-old male from Ark City, was a passenger in the 2000 Jeep Wrangler that crashed on North Enterprise Road outside Newkirk. The report said the teen was taken to a Ponca City hospital where he died from his injuries.

The crash report said the jeep’s driver was not injured. The report said that driver, an 18-year-old man from Winfield, was driving under the influence. An 18-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman from Ark City were also injured. The man suffered critical injuries. The woman’s injuries were minor, the highway patrol report said.

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