Uvalde High School took the field Friday for its first home football game since the tragic shooting at nearby Robb Elementary School earlier this year.
As community members of the small Texas town gathered in the stands, the players provided a show to remember.
Senior linebacker Justyn Rendon was chosen by coaches to wear No. 21 in honor of the victims, ABC News reported. His youngest brother was at Robb Elementary on the day of the shooting and survived.
“I automatically started crying,” his mom, Venessa Rendon, said. “I was proud. It was a very humbling moment.”
The NFL’s Houston Texans visited the team on Thursday, the night before the game.
— Emily Shapiro (@EmilyShapiroABC) September 2, 2022
On Friday morning, the Texans surprised Uvalde High with brand new football uniforms and equipment.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 2, 2022
Almost as meaningful as the pregame ceremony was the game’s unbelievable ending.
Tied 28-28 with Winn High School and with only 36 seconds remaining, senior Jonathan Jimenez broke what looked to be a sure tackle en route to a 51-yard run that set Uvalde up deep inside the opponent’s territory.
On the very next play, senior Devon Franklin snagged a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone that would prove to be the game-winner for Uvalde, The Washington Post reported.
WFAA reporter William Joy shared footage of the incredible game-winning drive on Twitter.
“This is absolute goosebumps stuff: Uvalde High School won its first home game tonight 34-28,” he wrote. “It happened thanks to a miraculous 51-yard run with 36 seconds to go. And then a go-ahead, one-handed TD catch with 12 seconds left. Have to love sports.”
This is absolute goosebumps stuff:
Uvalde High School won its first home game tonight 34-28.
— William Joy (@WilliamJoy) September 3, 2022
“It took us a while to be able to smile again without feeling guilty,” Justyn’s father, Eluterio Rendon, told ABC News. “I believe that football will hopefully bring the community out … find a reason to smile, by enjoying watching our kids do what they love to do.”
After a disappointing 2-8 season last year, Uvalde High has already matched that win total this season. The team is now 2-0 after defeating Carrizo Springs High School last week, scoring 21 points.
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