This year was supposed to be 16-year-old Coralles Dupree's year to play varsity football for Thomas Dale High School but a Thanksgiving Day shootout last year cut his athletic career short.
Dupree, his younger brother and mom were all shot by 35-year-old Michael Williams after a domestic dispute escalated into violence. On Thursday, a jury recommended Williams serve a 104-year sentence for the triple shooting.
Dupree's left leg was amputated after the shooting but he remains a part of his team. Though now, the former linebacker is in a different role.
"I wish I could be on the field with them but this is the next best thing," Dupree said from the sidelines. "I still see myself having a bright future. Everything happens for a reason."
Friday night was the big showdown between Thomas Dale and long time rival, the LC Bird Skyhawks. Wearing his jersey, number 8, Dupree didn't sit down once, cheering for his team the entire game.
"The kids want him to be part of the team, he wants to be part of the team," said Thomas Dale Head Football Coach Kevin Tucker. "So when he's here, it lifts everybody's spirits up."
Dupree admits even walking to class is a challenge but he isn't letting anything stand in his way.
"Sometimes you just got to take negative things and make them positive," said Dupree. Dupree hopes to be back on the field next year when he receives his permanent prosthetic leg.
As for Williams, he'll be formally sentenced by a judge in December.
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