A 17-year-old high school football star who was fatally stabbed in Newark on Wednesday afternoon was remembered fondly by a former coach today. Justice Afoa was a defensive lineman at Newark Memorial High School before transferring to Bridgepoint Continuation High School in the fall. He was named to the second-team all-league in the Mission Valley Athletic League last school year, Newark Memorial High School athletic director Rich Swift said.In addition to his athletic ability, Swift said team members and friends appreciated Afoa’s upbeat attitude.”He was a good guy,” Swift said. “If you were around him, you just felt better. He was positive, happy-go-lucky and playful.”Afoa dreamed of playing college football, Swift said. He transferred to Newark Memorial High in 2009 after moving to Newark from East Palo Alto. When he lived in San Mateo County, he attended Carlmont High School in Belmont.Afoa was attacked at about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Birch Street in Newark. Police responding to reports of a man lying on the ground bleeding found Afoa stabbed. He was pronounced dead at the scene. “It seems that there was some sort of altercation that occurred to which a large group of people were witnesses,” Newark police Cmdr. Bob Douglas said. “However, they have been reluctant to provide information. We need their help to put whoever was responsible under arrest.”Two men in black clothing, including hooded sweatshirts, were seen running from the area, but police did not have any suspect leads as of midday today, Douglas said.Students and family members held an impromptu memorial near the scene of the crime today, Swift said.Swift, who spent the morning meeting with students and counselors close to Afoa, said he admires the school’s response to the tragedy. “I’m so proud of how they have stood together,” Swift said. “They have been very supportive of each other.
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