Alexandra Schonfeld, People News
The Uvalde Coyotes beat the Carrizo Springs Wildcats 21-13 in the first football game of the season last week.
As the Uvalde High School football team heads into their first season after the tragedy in their hometown, they are finding ways to honor the 21 victims of the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School.
In a segment that aired Friday morning on Good Morning America, the Uvalde Coyotes head coach Wade Miller said ahead of the season, he asked his seniors what they thought they should do with the team’s No. 21 jersey, as the number is now connected to the lives lost.
“Do we retire it? Do we give it to a senior?” he asked.
Miller told the show that the player unanimously voted give the jersey to senior linebacker and captain, Justyn Rendon.
“Justyn is mature enough to handle the pressure of wearing it, he’s humble, he works hard, he helps others,” the coach said.
GMA reported that the football player’s youngest brother was a student attending Robb Elementary on the day of the May 24 shooting.
His father, who is a detective in San Antonio, recalled to GMA that he rushed hearing the news and thinking of “all the what-ifs.”
While Rendon’s brother was safe, and the family was able to gather that night, the father recalled “it was just difficult to process that there was families that weren’t going to be able to do that.”
During the team’s first away game last Friday, the Uvalde Coyotes walked off the field victorious, defeating the Carrizo Springs Wildcats with a final score of 21-13, ABC News reported.
“It was just a sign that the 21 angels are looking down at this community and saying that they’re here,” Rendon’s father told GMA.
In footage from the game, which aired Friday morning, Miller emotionally addressed his team following the win.
He said, “Right now, with the weight of the world on our shoulders, and what you came out here and did tonight — I love you like you’re my own children. I could not be more proud of you.”
Before the Coyotes’ first home game tonight, the team was visited by two members of the Houston Texans NFL team, Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill, as well as coach Lovie Smith.
On Friday morning, the two players, who appeared live alongside Miller and Rendon in Uvalde on GMA, revealed that the Texans were giving the high school players brand new uniforms and equipment.
The pro athletes also said they’d be hosting a football clinic in Uvalde. For the first game of the season, the Houston Texans will sport “Uvalde Strong” decals on their helmets.
The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the “Robb School Memorial Fund”) or donate money through Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.