It was their first time playing at home since the Parkland shooting and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team won by a notable margin.
Since a gunman killed 17 students and teachers at the school in February in one of the worst mass shootings in US history, students have paid tribute to the victims by organizing nationwide protests, performing at the Tony Awards and painting their graduation caps.
On Friday, they took on the South Broward Bulldogs and beat them 23-6. The final score margin was 17 points, according to posts on the football team’s social media pages.
“It’s the 17 angels,” junior running back Brian Smith told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Friday. “They were watching us.”
When the Eagles entered the school’s field, it was the number 17 that bound them together all along.
The Eagles wore new helmets with “17” on the side and the same “17” was painted on the school’s distinctive logo at midfield.
“We just want them to be proud,” head coach Willis May told the Sun Sentinel. “They’re in heaven and hopefully they’re looking down on us and they’re happy of the way we try to represent them. We try to make sure they understand we’re thinking about them and will always be with them.”
The team also honored Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach who was killed during the shooting when he threw himself in front of students as bullets hailed down. A player wore a uniform with the number 73, which was Feis’ number from his playing days, CNN affiliate WSVN reported.