PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School held their first home football game since the Valentine’s day tragedy on Friday night.
Students were hoping for some sense of normalcy at the homecoming. “Normalcy is a scary word around here. I came personally because I love football. I think it’s such a way for high schoolers to bond. And tonight’s really special for all the kids and the staff, and just a way to try to move forward,” student Jennifer Novik said.
Novik says her family has good days and bad.
It is clear this is a community still healing.
Junior Chris Lherisson has adopted a service dog since the shooting to help him cope. “He just provides me comfort for my PTSD. Makes me calm down. Makes me feel good. It’s just me and him type of thing,” Lherisson said.
He then took a deep breath.
Clearly, he was still dealing with the new reality.
On the field, players ran up and down the field, the marching band, reigning state champs, jammed, and the homecoming court was announced.
In the end zone, coach Aaron Feis watched. His photo and Jersey hanging in the end zone.
George Casey brought his family to the game tonight.
He played with Feis two decades ago.
On Friday night, it was his first time back. “Let me tell you something, that’s a true American hero right there. He sacrificed your own life for others… I’m sorry that’s a true American hero in my eyes,” Casey said.
The day of the shooting Feis ran toward the gunfire and jumped between the gunman and a student saving her life. Casey was glad he came “It’s solemn to be honest with you. But the aura is great. The energy is awesome,” he said.
As the clock ticked down, the Eagles ran away with the game.
Afterwards, players passed by coach Feis’s photo and jersey paying tribute to the man who continues to inspire.
The final score was 23-6, a difference of 17.
The same number of students and staff that died in the shooting here seven months ago.