LUMBERTON, Texas — A youth football team in Lumberton will honor a fallen opponent this season.
The Lumberton Juniors will be wearing new decals on their helmets, remembering 12-year-old Nick McBride, who was killed in accidental shooting on July 26.
Ryan Luce, an assistant coach for Lumberton said "I mean he was a child, he was taken way too early."
On Monday, the Raiders received the stickers, portraying the Jasper Bulldog logo and the number 54.
"When you play football, you become family," said Stefani Shook, a friend of the McBride family. "You're not just a team anymore."
Shook and her son, Joshua, created the symbols to honor their friend, Nick McBride.
The Shook family recently moved from Jasper to Lumberton and knew McBride very well.
"He always had a big smile, he was always happy," said Joshua Shook. "Never was sad, always a jokester, he'd use to joke around and stuff; he was a good person, always smiling."
Last month, McBride lost his life at the young age of 12, in a gun accident.
"Shock, I didn't want to believe it," said Joshua Shook. "It was hard."
Shook played with McBride growing up and wanted to honor his former teammate, while also using the platform of football to help ensure others know the dangers of guns.
"People are going to say, 'Hey Lumberton, you got a Jasper sticker, why you got that?'" said Joshua Shook. "They're going to tell them, someone we knew got shot by playing with a gun."
"It brings gun awareness as well, we try to teach that," added Luce. "We're not just teaching football, we're trying to bring up young men and make them better in our community."
The ten and eleven year olds who make up the Lumberton Juniors may not have known McBride, but understand it's important to honor him.
"We've actually already told them what happened and why they're wearing the decals," Luce said.
Lumberton and Jasper are among cities that play in the Southeast Texas Junior Football League.
The Shooks believe the decals, while small on the surface, will have a huge impact on and off the field.
Stefani Shook said "He [McBride] has other siblings that will be playing football, so when they see that I hope that they realize they have the backing of all these football teams."
The Lumberton and Jasper Juniors will be playing each other this weekend in a jamboree.