TRINITY, N.C. -- Before taking the field for their first home game Friday night, Trinity High School players tapped a signed helmet and held a moment of silence honoring their teammate Tyler Bova.
At the front of the student section was a sign with Tyler's last name and his jersey number, #23.
"I just really loved how our whole town has come together, like we're supporting him in every way possible," student Abigail Williard said.
Tyler, 17, is the only survivor of a crash that killed his entire family while traveling in Utah.
"For it to happen to the nicest person that I know, the person that I grew up with from elementary [school] until senior year, it’s heartbreaking,” Tyler's friend and teammate Caleb Parrish said.
Caleb visited Tyler in Utah several weeks ago where he's continuing his recovery.
"Being able to see him motivates you," he said. "It makes me want to push myself harder for him.”
Tyler's coaches at Trinity said he's an extremely hard worker who always wanted to get better.
"You’re not supposed to have favorites I know, but he’s up there, he’s just a great kid,” said Ryan Spencer, one of Tyler's coaches.
The Bulldogs said when they hit the field Friday night, they were playing for Tyler.
“If not for anybody else, you’ve got to do it for Tyler because he would want to be out here,” Muhammad Shah said.
Players and coaches have been texting and FaceTiming with Tyler, and say they're looking forward to having him back home.