CHICKASHA — For the Chickasha football team and the community, it's all about baby steps right now.
Inspired by the strength of the mother of their fallen brother, the Chickasha community took a giant step Friday night.
Chickasha junior offensive lineman Kody Turner and his family were honored in a special ceremony before the Chicks' 49-0 win against Capitol Hill. Turner died Sept. 17 after collapsing after practice three days earlier.
Turner's mother, Crystal Coleman, was presented a framed No. 74 jersey with Turner's picture before kickoff. All of Turner's extended family was also in attendance for the team's first home game since Turner's death.
The honors and emotions didn't stop there. The Redskins and Chicks both took a knee on the first play from scrimmage. On that play, Chickasha went without a left guard, Turner's position.
Following the play, quarterback Chase Rodgers gave the ball to coach Rick VanCleave. VanCleave then embraced Coleman and presented her the ball.
After initially being overcome by emotion, Coleman proudly held the ball up in the air.
"It would have absolutely thrilled my son ... to know he was so special to so many people," Coleman said. "This will mean a lot to me for the rest of my life."
The victory was some much needed good news for a community that's been in a daze the last two weeks.
Turner remains at the forefront of his teammates' minds.
"It's so tough to put into words right now," junior Won Davis said Friday night. "There are just so many emotions going through me. We just have to keep our head up."
Davis and Turner had been friends since childhood. Davis caught a touchdown pass Friday.
"I remember when I first came out for football," Davis said. "I didn't know much about the game. But Kody did. I would take his advice on everything. It worked. He meant so much to me."
Turner's father died four years ago, something Coleman said her son never quite got over. But football was steering him back on the right path.
VanCleave noticed the difference. Turner's focus was there, and he was starting to develop into a solid offensive lineman.
If any good has come from Turner's death, it's that it has brought out the best in the community. T-shirts have been sold with the donations going to the Turner family. A fund was set up at a Chickasha bank.
It didn't just stop in Chickasha, though. Cache raised $1,300 for the Turner family last week. Cache coach Barry Foster was in VanCleave's shoes three years ago. When Foster was coaching at Rush Springs, freshman Justin Barney died after making a tackle.
As tough as it is, Chickasha is doing its best to return its attention to the field. After canceling the game against Noble two weeks ago, Chickasha lost on the final play of the game against Durant last week.
But back home, surrounded by a community that has rallied around each other, the Chicks were able to honor Turner's memory the best way they knew how: with a win.
"A lot of tears have been shed, but this one was for Kody," Rodgers said. "He'll never be forgotten."