Winterset football team honors 13 troops killed in Afghanistan with helmet decal

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WINTERSET, Iowa — The Winterset Huskies normally play for the pride of Madison County, but on Friday, they decided to honor America instead.

The team wore decals in memory of the 13 U.S. troops killed during last month’s attack at an Afghanistan airport. Additionally, they traded their black uniforms for camouflage jerseys on loan from the Iowa National Guard.

Winterset wide receiver/cornerback Brayden Dinkla first came up with the idea for the helmet sticker, but the concept was quickly embraced by everyone on the team.

“I’m glad that we can pay the respect to them,” Dinkla said. “It means everything. You can feel those 13 who lost their lives … it feels like they’re with us.”

Winterset head coach Zach Sweeney said the memorial was also a moment to honor the victims of 9/11 a day before its 20th anniversary.

“It goes deep,” Sweeney said. “It’s just crazy talking with the kids about 9/11 when none of them were even born yet.”

The team also left one helmet with a larger decal honoring the U.S. service members on the sideline, to represent that the 13 did not come home alive.

“This is for everybody that has lost their lives, everybody that has served our country,” Dinkla said. “Just paying respect and thanking them.”

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