On a Lewisville football field Saturday night, the Grand Prairie Cowboys were looking to defend a streak.
After they started the season 0-2, coach Sam Escamilla said they found their motivation.
At 9 and 10 years old, his players were no longer seeking to accumulate wins for themselves but instead for one of their own now watching from the sidelines.
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Escamilla said it started over Labor Day weekend.
“We received a terrible text message from his mom saying he'd been involved in a terrible car accident,” Escamilla said.
Joshua Robinson was headed home from Louisiana with his mother Keneikia and two sisters.
Keneikia said she’d swerved to miss an oncoming truck when her car flipped and Joshua was thrown from the vehicle.
“He was on the ventilator. He was on the breathing tube. He had brain damage,” Keneikia Robinson said.
He spent more than two weeks in the hospital and both mom and coach said they weren’t always sure what recovery would look like. Still, his team was there to make sure his memory didn’t fade on the field.
“They wanted to either be the one that's doing the chants for Josh or leading the prayers for Josh. I’ve never seen anything like that in eight years of coaching,” Escamilla said.
He also had likely never seen anything like when Joshua not only rejoined them on the field Saturday but also got the chance to run the ball into the end zone for the team who’d fought so hard for him.
It wasn’t an official play in the game, as Joshua’s healing brain isn’t quite ready for a helmet or for a contact sport.
Still, that moment, negotiated between two teams, was a reminder of just how far Joshua’s come and the full comeback they know he’ll make.
"I had a dream about it, like he's going to wake up one day and be my Joshua again, and my dream came true,” Robinson said.
The Cowboys won Saturday, 7-0.
The team is raising money to help cover Joshua's medical expenses through GoFundMe.