It was déjà vu for the Collins Tigers as the team entered the 3A Championship game against Charleston for the second year in a row.
However, one player in particular was especially missed.
On July 5, Collins senior-to-be Jabarri Goudy was shot and killed.
All season long his coaches and teammates have honored their fallen brother by wearing his number 66 on their helmets.
The Collins Tigers entered Vaught Hemingway Stadium with more to play for than just a trophy.
“I'm just so proud of these kids," said Ryan Earnest, Collins head coach. "I'm proud of this community, just proud of the way they kept fighting. This is just who these kids are. We have been faced with adversity all year, and what we have been through a football game is trivial. We are just glad to have this opportunity and keep fighting, and this is the result.”
Quarterback Detric Hawthorne and his twin brother Derric Hawthorne said, “Oh yeah we are playing for him, number 66, all for him.”
The star defensive tackle might not have been there physically, but he was definitely there in spirit. The final score was Collins 34, Charleston 32. Add the two together and you get 66.