Stoneman Douglas wins first home football game since mass shooting claimed 17 lives

Marjory Stoneman Douglas won its first home football game since February’s massacre claimed 17 lives by a margin of 17 points. (AP/file)

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a step forward Friday in the healing process from February’s mass shooting in Florida that claimed the lives of 17 people, hosting its first football game since the tragedy.

Each player had the No. 17 painted on his helmet, and the field bore No. 17 in honor of the victims.

Stoneman Douglas wins by 17

Stoneman Douglas ended up winning the game over South Broward, 23-6, a margin of 17 points.

“It’s the 17 angels,” junior running back Brian Smith told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “They were watching us.”

Smith scored Stoneman Douglas’ first touchdown of the game, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Fallen football coach on team’s mind

Offensive line coach Aaron Feis was one of the 17 people killed in the Feb. 14 massacre. He was honored as a hero after reports of his shielding students from gunfire while working as a security guard.

Head coach Willis Mays told the Sun-Sentinel he plans to honor Feis at the end of the season and retire the No. 73 he wore when he played.

A football game is obviously not a panacea in the face of such horrors, but sports have often acted as a rallying point for Americans facing adversity.

“We won’t ever be over it,” Mays told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s never going to be something that we just get over and forget about. It’ll be with us for the rest of our lives. We’ve just got to learn from it and grow from it and hopefully become stronger from it.”

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