PIKE COUNTY, Ga. - An outpouring of support in Macon as Rutland High School hosted the Pike County Pirates. It was the first football game since the death of Pike County player Dylan Thomas.
As players walked on to the field for the coin toss, Pike County players carried Dylan's jersey. The stadium was filled with fans wearing #DylanStrong shirts. Coaches on both teams wore his number, 32.
"It's overwhelming, I'm glad everyone is coming together and helping to support the family," said one fan, Todd Coates.
During last Friday's game, Dylan left the field in the third quarter after falling during a play. He was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital. He passed away two days later.
"It's affected everybody. The coaches, everyone in school emotionally and physically," said a young fan, Jackson Coates.
One week later, during the first game without Dylan, on the first play, Rutland players took a knee. Pike only had 10 men on the field. A silent and poignant moment honoring their friend and teammate.
"It's been really hard, my son is a quiet kid so he doesn't say much, but I've seen a bunch of kids struggling and the whole community," said Bart Burford whose son is on the team.
While football is a fierce competition, tonight there was more of a camaraderie, as Dylan was in everyone's thoughts and in their hearts.
Pike County won the game 48-2.