The Arlington Knights Football League was supposed to be focused on tackles and touchdowns, but something much heavier weighs on the minds of its players.
Ten-year-old T.J. Sabur was in the backseat of his mom's car two months ago when officers say a drunken driver broadsided them. He did not survive the crash.
"Trying to explain death to a 9-, 10-year-old -- it's very hard to do. It's very hard to do," said league manager Monica Wagner.
"I was sad, because he was such a good player to my dad. ... He said they were very close," fellow player Bearin Loftis said.
After T.J.'s death, every team in the Arlington Knights dedicated their season to the 10-year-old.
The first move was to put 'T.J.' stickers on their helmets. After that, they retired his jersey, No. 17.
"At the end of practice, we break on 'T.J.' Before a game, we break on 'T.J.' Before we run through the banner, we break on 'T.J.,' so everything is in memory of T.J. for this season," Knights coach Thomas Hamilton said.
The Knights said even in memory, T.J. has become their 12th man on the field. And this weekend, when the sophomore team plays its first game in the Youth League Super Bowl, they expect T.J. to be cheering them on.
"It's almost like he's still here in a way, you know. He's right there -- part of the team still," Hamilton said.