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In senior photo, Ada-Borup senior honors former teammate, friend who was killed by drunk driver

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Ada, Minn. - Senior pictures have become a rite of passage not only for students, but for parents as well. 

But for one local family that dream was cut short.

That’s when a teammate stepped up to honor his fallen friend and a family he cares so much about.

The practice field is different for the Ada-Borup/Norman County West Cougars this season. The team is adjusting after losing one of its senior leaders.

“The first game, let alone the first scrimmage is going to hurt, my best friend should be out there getting sacks in the backfield,” said Nick Hagan, a senior member of the team. 

But 16-year-old Carter Peterson won't be. He was killed last year by a drunk driver. Nick's best friend, the boy he grew up learning the game of football with gone too soon.  

“What's the past year been like for you?” asked reporter Matt Henson.

“It's been different,” replied Hagan after a short pause. 

While Carter has been honored on the field in many ways, it's Nick's off the field tribute that is touching this tight knit community. 
“People after me, he's just going to be a name on the wall, to me he needs to be remembered more than that,” explained Hagan. 

So Nick included his best friend, a friend who is more like a brother, in his senior picture. 

“That picture in the left, it has been sitting with me since 2 days after he died,” commented Hagan. 

Nick posed in front of a green screen for the photo, and was shocked to see how it turned out. He said it left him speechless.

“I think I cried a little bit to be honest, something that really hit me at that point,” he recalled.  

“I was like wow,” said Randy Peterson, Carter’s dad, referring to when he first saw the picture.

Nick's senior photo not just a tribute to his best friend, but a tribute to Carter's parents who Nick looked up to, especially since his own father died when he was a little boy. 

“It means the world to us, it's a wonderful tribute. We missed out on his senior pictures; we were looking forward to it,” said Hagan. 

Back at practice, the Cougars are getting ready for a new season wishing Carter was there to help anchor the defense.    

“It's hard, it's hard being at the games and seeing someone else playing his position, it's not easy,” said Peterson. 

 While Carter may not be on the field his senior season his likeness will be cherished forever. 

“There couldn't have been a better photo taken, unless Carter was still here and I took a photo with him there, couldn't have been a better photo taken,” said Hagan.

The photo was taken by Cloud Nine Studios-Photography in Fertile.