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BHS honors Blackwell on field

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doEIOFtLVig[/embedyt]

There was a buzz in the air, as the Brookhaven High School Panthers prepared to play against the Pearl Pirates in their home opener.

Before every football game, an hour and a half before kickoff, fans cheer on the team as they walk through Panther Park.

Since this was the first game of the season, players were introduced as they strode by fans. The crowd cheered as they announced No. 18, Jordan Blackwell.

Blackwell, 18, was tragically shot and killed on May 28, along with his cousin, Austin Edwards, 11.

“It’s been a hard journey this summer,” Shon Blackwell, Jordan’s father, said. “I’m thankful God allowed us to have such a wonderful kid.”

The No. 18 was everywhere Friday night. BHS honored Blackwell by putting his number in the end zone and painting the 18-yard hash marks black instead of the usual white. They also put a No. 18 necklace around the inflated Panther mascot as the team made its way out on the field.

“My son was going to graduate in 2018. He was 18 years old, his number was 18 and the first game of the year was on Aug. 18. Everything is playing a part in allowing us to see how great he is. I’m so excited for the game and I pray that God gives me strength to be there for his teammates.”

Players carried their fallen teammate’s jersey with them as they ran out onto the field. Blackwell addressed the team Friday afternoon to let them know how much he has appreciated everyone.

“I was so excited to get a chance to talk to them because my son thought so high of his team. He thought his team was the best team to come through Brookhaven,” Blackwell said. “He was so excited for his senior year. He lifted up every player he played with, regardless of what anyone else said about them.”

Shayla Edwards, mother of Caleb and Austin Edwards, reminisced about how protective Jordan was of his cousins.

“If you know about that horrible night in May, Jordan was shielding my son Caleb from the gunfire,” said Edwards. “He’s always been a protector. I told my son Caleb that ‘Jordan is going to help you on the field and Austin will be cheering you on in the stands.’”