TROUP, Texas (KETK) — For the past few weeks, the Troup Tigers have been playing with heavy hearts, as one of their brothers is still recovering from a brutal head injury.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs we all come together as brothers, and we know we got to do it for him,” said junior quarterback Grayson Hearon.

“I heard something the other day that brought it all together, one of our players said this situation has brought us really close together, and we battle adversity all year with injuries to key players,” adds head coach Sam Wells.

Juniors Tucker Howell and Hearon say it’s an honor to play for their close friend, Cooper Reid, who is still in the hospital, and getting better day by day.

“He’s been one of my best friends growing up, and it means a lot to be able to represent him in a lot of ways,” declares Hearon.

“It means a lot, being able to play for Cooper, he is not here with us of course, but being able to play for him and win for him is pretty cool,” exclaims Howell.

After this devastating injury, East Texas and people all over the world have been supporting and praying for Cooper’s healing, and the Tigers appreciate all the support in the stands.

“It’s definitely awesome from all the support we have from the communities, and we have an awesome community, and it’s kind of cool seeing everyone behind us,” said Howell.

“It shows how many really good people there are in the world, and humanity is really good and so just excited for the future of our world in general,” explains coach Wells.

“I hope to see a lot of people and their support and a lot of love for Coop and his family and hope to see a lot of people,” adds Hearon.

Now they get ready for their district opener Friday night against the Quitman Bulldogs, their first home game since Cooper was taken off the field, staying focused on the task at hand while keeping their friend and teammate in their hearts and minds.