KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The community showed up Friday night to support the Austin-East Roadrunners for their first football game of the season against the Fulton Falcons.
Students, staff and alumni all came out to represent the school, but also support each other as they continue to grieve the loss of football player John John Mathis.
“He was a wonderful kid, great kid. His mother comes from an excellent family. And he had a lot of good things going for him. We need him tonight. He would have made a difference tonight. He was a great football player just a great individual,” said Todd Lundy, a family friend.
Before the start of the game, there was a moment of silence for all of the students who were killed this year. There was a banner that read “Long Live John John” hanging from the bleachers honoring the teen.
“John john was one like none other and everybody has said it for the whole week. His smile brought something electric to the building. And all of us that knew him and all of us that love him just wanted to celebrate him and come out here today and just do this one in his honor and in his name,” said Rukiya Foster, Assistant principal for the freshman class.
The final score was Fulton 35, Austin-East 0. The Roadrunners take on the Clinton Dragons on August 27.