The Wesleyan Christian Mustangs returned to the field for the first time since a player's death.
Before the game against Welch started, fans released balloons in memory of Ben Hamm, who died last Saturday after getting hurt during a game the week before.
"He just lit up everybody's lives," said senior Merissa Bailey, "and just truly showed what it meant to live for God with pure joy."
Bailey and other students wore Hamm's number, which was 28, to the game. They said it's hard to believe that he'll no longer play the sport he loved.
"As long as we stay faithful to God, we're going to see Ben again," said first grade teacher Kelsey Carmichael, "and that gives us joy."
The school further honored Hamm by marking the 28 yard line. A metal jersey with his number will also remain permanently at the football field.
"We're trying really hard to just glorify Ben and glorify God through all of this," said junior Syndey Frederick.
The team captains carried Hamm's jersey to center field Friday for the coin toss, and fans said Hamm would have wanted them to think about only thing--winning.
"If you know Ben, football was huge to him," said Kedrcik Nettleton, a former student at Wesleyan Christian. "He would want them to go out there and play to win, so I think that's what they'll try to do."
Hamm's funeral is scheduled Saturday morning at the Wesleyan Christian School gymnasium.