High school football team plays in honor of injured coach, correctional officer

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The beams lighting up the field like coach Malama's presence usually does. (KFSN)

The field at Fresno Christian School glowed bright Friday night. The beams lighting up the field like coach Malama's presence usually does.

"He was on our sideline just last Friday," head coach Russ Counts said. "So there's going to be a hole that he's not with us tonight."

It's the first week Malama hasn't been to practice. He and another correctional officer are still recovering in the hospital. Both fought for their lives after being shot in the head and neck at the Fresno County Jail.

"If you've seen that man, you'd understand," Malama's nephew Nate Scanlan said. "That man is strong, both physically, emotionally, and mentally."

His progress has been slow and steady. While he may not be able to speak, his players can feel his energy.

"A lot of emotions are coming up right now for the first game because he's not going to be here," said Sage Sobrado, who is on the team. "But we are just going to play for him."

Nate stood in the place of his uncle Friday, watching as the team executed near perfect plays in honor of their coach.

"This is very much so a healing part," he said. "And this something that our culture, our family, we are grateful for."

Malama was a 10-year veteran of the department, working a dangerous job few would choose.

"People are unpredictable," Sobrado said. "I'm just really thankful officer Davila and coach Malama were there to stop the guy before he could do any more harm."

And now, his fight continues to inspire his players and his team to keep winning and chasing down their dreams on the football field.

"We want you to see this," Counts said. "And we want you to be proud of us because we are proud of you."
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