A high school football player has been killed in a shooting incident northwest of Denton.
In a news release, Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham confirmed 18-year-old Nathan Maki, starting fullback for Denton Guyer High School, was found dead in a pickup up truck in a field close to Bowie.
Authorities made the discovery after receiving a call at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Maki was later pronounced dead at Bowie Hospital.
According to friend and teammate Tyler Smith, Maki had been hunting with friends during the opening weekend of dove hunting season.
Smith said he believes his friend was shot accidentally.
The sheriff's office reports that a rifle was found at the scene.
“He always used to talk about, 'I’m the safest guy around, guys. You’ll never catch me messing around'…For this to happen to him, it’s just a heartbreaker," Smith said.
Smith said while Maki did not start in his fullback position on the Wildcat's Thursday night season opener due to an injury, football was his friend's passion.
“He was always in the huddle, listening to the plays, even if he wasn’t playing," said Smith.
Girlfriend Peyton Bucklew called Maki her "best friend," but added that Maki's Class 4A state champion teammates were "like family."
“Football was everything to him," she said, saying that during the team's next Thursday game, the varsity squad will be playing for Maki.
"Those are his brothers out there," Bucklew said. "He would do anything for them. It will be hard, but I know Thursday they are going to go out there and play for him.”
Bucklew called the shooting a "tragedy."
According to Cunningham's statement, an arrest was made at the scene of the shooting on unrelated charges.
Authorities have not released any further information, other than it remains an open investigation and that the Texas Rangers are involved.
A statement posted on a team website and on Facebook reads: "Our team, school, community, and most of all the family of Nate Maki, have suffered a great loss." It asks for supporters' prayers. Additionally, the team announced Monday that they will not practice on Labor Day.