DUNCANVILLE –– A football game is where he should be. A field is where he belongs.
"He's a fighter," said Duncanville High School freshman football coach Jarvis Johnson. "I knew he'd bounce back."
Johnson has known Storm Malone since he was in junior high. Storm was a cornerback and a wide receiver in seventh and eighth grades. He was practicing with Jarvis's freshmen team this summer. But in August, the unthinkable happened.
He survived the shooting that killed his mother and his sister. The alleged killer, Erbie Bowser, was his mother's boyfriend. Bowser is accused of shooting and killing two others the same night. Storm's sister was on the drill team at Duncanville High. Storm was supposed to be a freshman at the start of the school year.
"Any time you see young people hurt, especially by an adult, it's hard to explain, hard to understand," said Duncanville ISD Athletic Director Cathy Self-Morgan, "but the school comes together, we hold each other, we hug each other, we do what we can to help each other."
Storm's injuries were critical.
"This is a child that, when it first happened, we were told we had 72 hours, we needed to say our goodbyes," said his aunt Sheritha Smith, "if he pulls through, he'll be a vegetable, he'll never talk, he'll never walk."
Friday, he found the strength to do both. His family wheeled him onto the football field, helped him stand and he tossed the coin before the game between the Duncanville Panthers and the Mansfield Tigers. Everyone attending the game had a chance to donate to a fund that's set up in Storm's name at Wells Fargo Banks.
Classmates took up a donation during lunch and raised $200.
"We want him and his family to know we'll always be there for him," said Self-Morgan. "We wish we could do more, but just to ease any of their financial distress feels good."
Storm's grandmother said they are leaning on community support to get them through. But more than anything, Storm's strength inspires them.
"As I told everybody from the beginning, God in this hand, and God in this hand," she said, raising both hands up, "and the love and support we're getting, it's keeping us going."
"It's rough, it's really rough, but when I look at Storm and see where he's come from it gives me that push; I'm better off than he is, and if he did it I can surely do it," she added.
She said Storm will likely never be able to play football again. He faces several more surgeries. But he also ran track, and she is hopeful, through intense therapy, that he will be able to run.
As Storm tossed the coin and was helped back into his wheelchair, the stadium around him erupted in applause. He smiled.
"He's living up to that name my sister gave him," said his aunt with a chuckle, "Storm."
She, like the rest of the family, was wearing a t shirt with his name and a lightning bolt on the front. His number, 29, was on the back.