Tears were shed, hugs were shared and resolve was at an all-time high last Friday in the communities of Uvalde, Texas and Oxford, Michigan.
For the first time tragic school shootings changed the lives of those towns, home high school football games were held at Uvalde High School and Oxford High School.
Here’s a synopsis on the emotional nights at each high school.
This was an ending that Hollywood might not have been able to come up with.
Following a touching tribute where a prayer and 21-second moment of silence was held in honor of the 21 victims killed during the tragedy at Robb Elementary School on May 24, Uvalde kicked its game off against Eagle Pass Winn.
With the game tied at 28-28 late in the fourth quarter, something then happened that shook the stadium so much that it felt like an earthquake.
Running back Jonathan Jimenez took a handoff and was about to be tackled as he headed toward the left sideline on a seemingly innocent looking play.
Uvalde head coach Wade Miller said to KSAT after the game that he was just trying to run the clock out to go into overtime.
But Jimenez then spun away from a tackler, reversed his direction, cut all the way across the field and then took off down the right sideline for a 51-yard run down to the Eagle Pass Winn 9-yard line with 17 seconds remaining.
The Uvalde fans in the stands went berserk, but as it turns out, they were just getting warmed up.
On the next play, wideout Devon Franklin hauled in a one-handed touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone from quarterback Brodie Carnes for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in a 34-28 Uvalde win.
When Uvalde ended the game with a sack, fans erupted with cheers in the stands and players jubilantly jumped up and down on the sideline before going to shake hands with the opposing players.
The team then went over to give high fives to their fans who were cheering them on in the bleachers.
It was the 600th win in program history, but more importantly, brought smiles and joy to the community.
“That’s just what this down needed,” Uvalde senior Justin Rendon told KSAT afterwards. “Just needed this win.”
Just a couple days prior to Oxford’s first home game on Sept. 2 marked 10 months since the shooting inside Oxford High School that killed four students and injured 11 others.
But as it has for the past 10 months, the Oxford community continued to showcase why it’s “Oxford Strong.”
In a pregame ceremony, the four students were honored in a video tribute and a moment of silence was observed.
A tribute video was also shown for Tate Myre, one of the students killed who was a captain of last year’s team as a junior and was supposed to be the best player and leader for the team this year.
Myre’s No. 42 was painted in multiple spots on and around Oxford’s field and his family, including his father Buck, an assistant coach on this year’s team, participated in the pregame coin toss.
After fighting back tears during the video tribute to his son, Buck Myre then went into game-mode and fired up in the crowd before kickoff.
Oxford ended up rallying for a 17-14 win, and the students stormed the field to celebrate with the players on the field when it was all over.
Buck Myre then spoke to the team afterward saying, “there’s nothing better than Friday night lights.”
On this night as a community continues to heal, nobody could argue.