Emotions were already running high Friday night when Uvalde High School hosted its first football game since the tragic shooting at nearby Robb Elementary School this past May. There was a 21-second moment of silence before the opening kickoff to honor the 21 people who died, "Uvalde strong" T-shirts throughout the bleachers and the various individual remembrances in the stands.
Football was likely one of the last things on everyone's mind Monday night, but it might not have been by the game's end.
Uvalde beat C.C. Winn High School, 34-28, thanks to some incredible last-minute plays in the fourth quarter. Tied 28-28 with 36 seconds left in the game, Uvalde senior Jonathan Jimenez evaded tacklers behind the line of scrimmage and scampered on a 51-yard run to the C.C. Winn 10-yard line with just 17 seconds to go. On the next play, senior wideout Devon Franklin hauled in a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone to give Uvalde the lead and the win.
This is absolute goosebumps stuff:
Uvalde High School won its first home game tonight 34-28.
It happened thanks to a miraculous 51-yard run with 36 seconds to go.
And then a go-ahead, one-handed TD catch with 12 seconds left.
Have to love sports.#txhsfb @wfaa pic.twitter.com/AXSs1zakUu
— William Joy (@WilliamJoy) September 3, 2022
What a wild finish. And an incredible moment for a community that was absolutely rocked by the shooting at Robb — which is just 2.4 miles from the high school — where 19 children and two teachers were killed by a lone gunman.
Senior Uvalde linebacker Justyn Rendon's younger brother was at Robb when the shooting happened and survived. Rendon was chosen by the team to wear the No. 21 jersey this season to honor the 21 victims.
Uvalde's football team has already matched its win total from a year ago. Uvalde won its first game of the season last week ... by scoring 21 points — which Rendon's father believes is another sign from the victims of the shooting.
"It was just a sign that the 21 angels are looking down at this community, and saying that they're here, that they're still present, and that they will remain present," Eluterio Rendon told ABC News this week. "So that was a pretty, pretty special moment."