At football season opener, Livingston High honors player killed in hit-and-run

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A key player was noticeably absent from Livingston High School after 16-Year-old Raymond Martinez was killed while biking by a hit-and-run driver this spring. (KFSN)

For the first game of high school football season, a key player was noticeably absent from Livingston High School after 16-Year-old Raymond Martinez was killed while biking by a hit-and-run driver this spring.

Martinez has played football since he was 5 and his coach said he would have been the starting defensive tackle Friday had the crash not taken his life.

Under the gaze of Friday night lights and cheers from an adoring crowd, Livingston's football team remembered why they were playing tonight.

Number 59 was more than just a player. To his friends, Raymond was a leader. To his family, he was a loving son whose death left them no closure.

"I just wish they'd turn themselves in," Raymond's dad Larry Martinez said. "As for anger, I don't feel too much anger. I just grieve for my son more than anything."

Martinez died on Easter Sunday. He and his brother were riding bikes along Walnut Avenue when a silver car hit the teen and kept going.
The family said they've received few tips about that night.

"If it was your family, you would be just as distraught as we are," Raymond's sister Ashley said. "and we just want to know who it was."

The football team retired his jersey number at Friday night's football game. It was the first of the 2016 season and one of the only ones Martinez has ever missed.

"Every day, every minute," Raymond's coach Alex Gonzalez said. "We just finished talking about him 5 minutes ago. Every day is going to be dedicated to Raymond this season.

The team scored one touchdown after another on Friday and his teammates said his dream was to play football for Fresno State.

"It was almost his whole life," Ashley said. "He loved practice, he loved his teammates, everybody."

"He taught me that life should be simple," Gonzalez said. "He always knew what to say, motivated us in his own way."

And while 59 is no longer on the field, he's permanently etched in the back of everyone's mind. His teammates hoping justice is served and that his memory will inspire them for seasons to come.

The family and authorities are offering a $6,000 award to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest. If you know anything, you are asked to call the California Highway Patrol.
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newsmerced countyhit and runfootballLivingston
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