PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - The Marjory Stoneman Douglas community paid tribute to the victims of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Parkland school’s homecoming football game, their first since the tragedy.
The Eagles soared once again Friday night, as the team took on the South Broward Bulldogs.
“We’re all excited to go see Douglas hopefully win,” said a student.
Students told 7News they experienced mixed emotions in the hours leading to the game. They said they want to be able to move on from the shooting, but at the same time they do not want to forget.
“This is something, not only a remembrance, but we’re also here to have fun and show to everybody that, as a whole, we are Parkland strong,” said MSD student Hailey Jacobson. “We are MSD strong, we will survive, we will get through this.”
Friday afternoon, students took part in the homecoming parade. 7Skyforce HD hovered above the empty field where the number 17 was written on the face of the eagle on the grass, a tribute to the victims who were killed during the Feb. 14 massacre.
“Given the aftermath of everything, it seems like the community is banding together,” said an onlooker.
Friday evening, 7News cameras captured the football team’s large inflatable eagle to one side of the field.
Before the game started, team members knelt on the grass as they prayed together.
One of the shooting victims was assistant varsity football coach Aaron Feis, who was hailed a hero for his actions during the massacre. A player at Friday night’s game wore a uniform with the number 73, Feis’ team number when he played with the Eagles.
Feis’ number will then be permanently retired.
With the number 17 always there and the term “MSD strong” now woven into the fiber that binds these students together, these high school kids are ready to be kids once again.
“I think today is just a really great day,” said a student.
Stoneman Douglas had reason to celebrate Friday night. The Eagles beat the Bulldogs 23-6.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.