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Proud and united

Uvalde savors football team's dramatic victory

On a Friday night in September, three months after tragedy forever changed the small Texas town, Uvalde savored a sweet victory. In front of a sold-out crowd of 5,000 (a third of the town's population), the Coyotes scored a last-minute touchdown to beat the Winn High School Mavericks 34-28 in their first home game of the season. 

In the weeks leading up to the game, the Coyotes knew there was pressure to win, to bring their town a much-needed three hours of joy and celebration. Running back Jeyden Gonzales said it felt like “the weight of the world” was on his team’s shoulders. At least 50 journalists representing ABC News, The New York Times, the American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News and TV stations throughout the area were there to witness it. 

The team elected senior caption Justyn Rendon to wear the symbolic number 21, remembering the 21 lives taken at Robb Elementary School the May before. “It’s a big honor, a big blessing that I get to wear it on Friday nights,” said Rendon, speaking about the jersey. “We represent the 21 lives lost every day, on the field and off the field. Even in the weight room. It’s our way of showing respect.” 

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