DENTON -- Blue ribbons, shirts and signs filled the C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in honor of Denton Guyer, student and football player Nate Maki Thursday night.
The game against Colleyville Heritage was a show of support, pride, and love after a very tough week.
"It's been a heartbreaker," said teammate Logan Halal. "It's hard to lose your brother."
The Guyer Wildcats hit the gridiron for the first time since Nate's death.
The 18-year-old was killed, detectives say, on a hunting trip over the weekend in Montague County. He was shot with a rifle by a friend. Investigators suspect it was an accident.
"It's going to be different playing a football game without my buddy," Halal said.
But, Nate was there in so many ways.
His number, 33, decorated faces, helmets, and shirts. The run into the field, the release of blue balloons, and the coin toss all honored Nate.
His parents, two brothers, and sister watched it all from the sidelines. The team gave them Nate's jersey before kickoff. The family wanted to be at the game. They gave the team's coach the okay to play despite their loss.
"I consulted with the Maki family and the team," said Guyer coach John Walsh. "That's why we are here today."
When the Wildcats scored their first touchdown, a player ran to the stands. He gave the ball to Nate's family.
They were overwhelmed with joy.
"We are here for them," said Guyer player Tyler Smith. "We are here for them."
The Denton Guyer Wildcats beat the Colleyille Heritage Panthers 35-to-14.