PILOT POINT — The Pilot Point High School football team is playing in the Class 2A state championship game on Saturday, but they didn't practice on Monday.
Their afternoon was spent instead at a funeral, supporting two brothers on their team who recently lost their dad.
"Obviously, it's been on everyone's mind," said head coach Blake Feldt. "At the same time, I think our kids have done a fantastic job of handling this situation. As a matter of fact, our kids never cease to amaze me in some of the things they've done this year."
The two brothers who lost their father are running back Jarman Jackson — who now holds the school record in rushing — and safety Willie Davis.
Their dad, Henry Melvin Davis, died of cancer eight days ago. Now the team is providing support for their teammates while getting ready for their biggest game of the year.
"We gotta do the best we can and move past this, and use this to really pull the team together and focus and get get it done for Jarman and Willie," said offensive lineman Cam Feldt.
Quarterback Seth Tilley acknowledged that the team hasn't made it this far in a long time, but now they have a purpose. "The whole team, they know we're dedicating this season to Jarman's dad," he said, "so we're going to win it for him. We're going to play our hearts out — no matter what."
The team has added the initials of Henry Melvin Davis to the backs of their helmets for the big game. Before he died, he told his sons to go win a state championship.
"His words were, 'Win it for me,'" said wide receiver Justin Chambers. "Jarman has been saying every week, 'This is for my daddy, this is for my daddy.' We're hoping to do it for his daddy."
Pilot Point hasn't won a state championship since 1981, but if there was ever a reason to win a game, the time is now.