Tears were shed, hugs were shared and determination 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, local high school football games were held at Uvalde High School and Oxford High School.
Here is a synopsis of emotional nights at each high school.
This was an ending that Hollywood might not have been able to come up with.
Following a moving tribute featuring prayer and a 21-second moment of silence in honor of the 21 victims who died during the tragedy at Robb Elementary School on May 24, Uvalde kicked off his game against Eagle Pass Winn.
With the game tied at 28-28 at the end of the fourth quarter, something happened that shook the stadium so much it felt like an earthquake.
Running back Jonathan Jimenez took a pass and was about to be tackled when he headed down the left sideline on a seemingly innocent play.
Uvalde’s head coach Wade Miller told KSAT after the game that he was just trying to run out time to go into overtime.
But Jimenez then backed away from a tackler, changed directions, cut all the way down the field and then went down the right sideline for a 51-yard run to the Eagle Pass Winn 9-yard line with 17 seconds remaining.
The Uvalde fans in the stands went wild, but it turned out they were just warming up.
On the next play, wide receiver Devon Franklin caught 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 victory. .
When Uvalde finished the game with a sack, fans erupted in applause in the stands and players jumped for joy on the sidelines before going to shake hands with opposing players.
The team then came over for a high-five with their cheering fans in the stands.
It was the 600th win in the show’s history, but more importantly, it brought smiles and joy to the community.
“That’s just what this down needed,” Uvalde senior Justin Rendon told KSAT afterward. “I just needed this win.”
Just a couple of days before Oxford’s first home game on September 2, it was 10 months since the shooting inside Oxford High School that killed four students and injured 11 others.
But as it has for the last 10 months, the Oxford community continued to demonstrate why it is “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 to Tate Myre, one of the murdered students who captained last year’s team as a junior and was supposed to be the best player and leader of the team this year.
Myre’s No. 42 was painted in multiple spots in and around the Oxford pitch and his family, including his father Buck, an assistant coach on this year’s team, took part in the coin’s raffle before the game.
After fighting back tears during his son’s tribute video, Buck Myre went into game mode and fired into the crowd before kick-off.
Oxford ended up coming together to win 17-14, and the students stormed the field to celebrate with the players on the field when it was all over.
Buck Myre then talked to the team after saying, “there’s nothing better than Friday night lights.”
On this night as a community continues to heal, no one could argue.