LAYTON -- Green ribbons tied around signposts and poles outside of North Layton Junior High School paid tribute to ninth-grader Tyler Smith, who died Sunday from liver cancer.
The North Layton Junior High marque flashes in green the words, "We love you Tyler and we will miss you," to all those who drive by the school on 2000 North.
Tyler, who was 15, was a member of the Northridge High School golf team.
"That whole golf team was a gift to Tyler," said Ann Smith, Tyler's mother. "They are my heroes."
Kyler Dearden, a senior, said he learned about his friend's death through a text message early Sunday morning. Kyler went out on Monday and won the 7th annual Hidden Valley Senior Golf Invitational at Hidden Valley Country Club.
"I put Tyler's name on my golf ball," said Kyler, who will be speaking at his young friend's funeral on Friday.
Under his golf shirt, Kyler wore a T-shirt with the logo "F2TF" that stood for "Fight to the finish," which was the team's motto this season to recognize Tyler's battle against cancer.
"I felt like Tyler was there with me," Kyler said.
Kyler said the first time he played a round of golf with Tyler, "He almost beat me."
"He always had a smile, no matter what his score was," Kyler said about his teammate. "He could make us laugh."
Northridge High School golf coach Ryan Jenkins said when he heard Tyler had been diagnosed with liver cancer just two weeks before the golf team tryouts last summer, he considered making him an honorary member of the team.
Jenkins said when he watched Tyler play, "I found out he could really play. He made the team on his own merits, and that was the varsity team."
Tyler was unable to carry his golf clubs or walk the course, so accommodations were made for the freshman to participate in the high school tournaments whenever possible.
Tyler's older brother, Tanner, is also a member of the golf team, Jenkins said.
"(The F2TF motto) will be our (team) motto from now on," Jenkins said.
Ann Smith said her son was told on Mother's Day he had a week to live.
"He was one of the bravest boys I've ever known," Ann Smith said. "He said that day, 'Let's go home.' "
When he woke up the day after Mother's Day, he asked his family to take him to the golf course.
"He could barely swing a club, and he said, 'If I die on the golf course, I'll be a happy boy,' " Ann Smith said.
His last round of golf was on May 16 at Ogden Country Club. After he finished the first nine holes he called his mom and asked her to bring OxyContin so he could finish the last nine holes.
Then, on Sunday, he passed away, Ann Smith said.
"Our hearts are broken, but we know where he is," she said, adding that the family's faith is helping them through their grief.
Jenkins said one of the more memorable times he had with Tyler was at a banquet last fall to promote the U.S. Amateur Public Links golf tournament coming to Soldier Hollow Golf Course this summer.
Tyler was named honorary guest. He, Tanner, Kyler and Jenkins attended the event.
Jenkins said he joked with Tyler when they arrived that he might be asked to speak.
PGA legends Billy Casper and Johnny Miller were speaking at the event and then they asked Tyler to come up, Jenkins said.
"Tyler was a bit nervous, but he went up and Billy Casper put his arm around him and asked him to explain to the audience what F2TF meant," Jenkins said.
"This little guy gave the most powerful 45-second speech I've ever heard, explaining how fighting for his life and against cancer was similar to playing 18 holes. Everyone was in tears. There was a dead silence in the place."
Tyler was also a member of North Layton Junior High School's basketball team.
Coach Jerry Williamson said Tyler played on the team from the time he was in seventh grade. Team members wrote "TS" on their calves to honor and support Tyler during every game.
Tyler played in one game, against Central Davis Junior High School, and scored eight points, Williamson said.
North Layton Junior High School Student Body President Mazie Cox said students tied 100 green ribbons on the fence and around every tree and signpost on school grounds.
"We were painting the town green for Tyler," Mazie said.
On Friday, students paid $3 to wear jeans instead of their school uniforms as a fundraiser for Tyler, said Jackie Crandall, the school's head secretary.
"The kids raised $3,200. It was amazing," Crandall said.
A viewing for Tyler is schedule for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Lindquist Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road, Layton. Services are at 11 a.m. Friday at the Layton North LDS Stake Center, 1954 E. Antelope Drive. Friends and family may attend a viewing at the church from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Tyler is survived by his parents, Ann and Darren Smith; his siblings, Erika and Brian Kusuda, Taylor Smith and Tanner Smith; and nephew Caleb Kusuda.