The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team won their home opener this weekend, but the victory was bittersweet.
The Eagles paid tribute to the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 massacre on the Parkland, Fla. campus, with the number 17 displayed on the field and on every player’s helmet.
The tributes carried over to the scoreboard.
Douglas, now 2-0 on the season, beat South Broward on Friday night — by exactly 17 points, 23-6.
“It’s the 17 angels,” running back Brian Smith said. “They’re watching us.”
The Eagles are playing this season to honor the victims, especially assistant coach Aaron Feis — who died while using his body as a shield to protect students.
“We’ve all been through a lot, and we owe it to each other,” Smith said. “And we owe it to them.”
Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student, is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. His lawyers said he will plead guilty if spared the death penalty, but prosecutors have refused that offer. If the case goes to the death penalty phase, all 12 jurors must agree on capital punishment or Cruz will get an automatic life prison sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.