The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are a small school and are not known for their dominance across the world of college football. However, the club has gained notoriety thru the eyes of Hollywood producers who have highlighted some of the players that have come out of the organization.
We all remember Brian’s Song, the inspirational movie about Chicago Bears‘ running back, Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer at the age of 26 back in 1970. We remembered the one-of-kind friendship displayed between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, where Sayers remained at Piccolo’s side during the tragedy despite national racial tension going on at the time. Yes, Brian Piccolo came from Wake Forest.
Now, more recently, another inspirational story out of Wake Forest has shown up in movie theaters; this one centered more on the 2006 Wake Forest Football season. The 5th Quarter is about the 2006 Wake Forest football season and some of the events, both tragic and inspirational, that occurred during its ACC Conference Championship winning year.
A key player for Wake Forest, Jon Abbate was looking forward to the 2006 season when tragedy struck for him and his family. His younger brother Luke, 15, was killed in a car accident coming from a lacrosse practice. Abbate wanted to honor his brother, so he was allowed to switch his jersey number from 40 to the number 5 which was worn by Luke. Then, at the start of every fourth quarter, Jon and his family would remember Luke by holding up 5 fingers. The tribute caught on and soon, Abbate’s teammates, Wake Forest fans, and even fans from opposing teams began holding up 5 fingers in Luke’s honor. This became a symbol and testimonial to Wake Forest’s outstanding 2006 season.
Later, the Abbate family created the “Five Foundation” which is meant to raise awareness of the responsibilities and dangers of driving to young people.