HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico High School Warriors geared up to take on Hermitage High School Friday evening, but on the field, there was a noticeable absence.
"Can't lie, though. Our hearts and minds were elsewhere for some parts of this week," said Head Football Coach, Gerald Glasco.
Friday marked the Warriors' first game since a tragic injury one week prior. Samar Lemons,18, fractured his neck during a game against Douglas Freeman High School.
Glasco said it happened during a routine play.
"I was actually standing right where the play occurred," said Glasco. "I turned back, and he was laying there. And you kind of just know. You just kind of know when it’s not good."
He said since then, they'd seen an outpouring of support locally and across the country.
"I’ve had calls from coaches from Texas, California, Ohio, just letting us know that they’re there for us -- that they’re thinking about us every day," said Glasco. "It’s so much bigger than football."
On Friday, the team wore stickers with Samar's number, 17, inside a lemon, on the back of their helmets.
"I showed him today on Facetime, and he got real hype for it," said Glasco. "He’s not able to articulate everything he wants to say because of the ventilators and tubes in his mouth, but I could see it in his eyes, the 'Lemon look,' as if he just made a big play."
Glasco and Samar's teammate, Pfeniox Brown, said Friday night, they were playing for him.
"Just do it for him, do it for his family, do it for the love of football really," said Brown.
Glasco said while Samar wasn't there physically, his presence was still felt.
"I always tell our kids, every member of the team has a role, and I believe this time Samar’s role is something bigger than the game," said Glasco. "Maybe he’s teaching us that you never know when it’s your last play. Maybe God’s plan is for us to understand we got to take advantage of every rip, every down. Or maybe there’s a bigger fish to fry. Maybe the miracle of him walking, sooner than later, will be something we can rely on."
Coach Glasco said he believed Samar would walk across the graduation stage, God willing, soon.
In a vigil Wednesday Samar's mom, Dana Armstead-Guy, said he'd already been able to move his arms a little.
You can support Samar and his family by donating to their GoFundMe.