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Sometimes in life you find that there are more important things than winning a sporting event. Thursday evening The Woodlands High School JV White team traveled to Katy Tompkins for their third game of the season.

It was a competitive game throughout, and it came down to the last few seconds to decide the game. That was until a serious injury changed the game entirely.

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With 57 seconds left in the game, the Katy Thompkins’ team was up 29-28. The Woodlands came back and drove to the 3-yard-line, threw to a receiver, and charged towards the end zone. That’s when a brutal collision took place. The Woodlands receiver got up, but the Tompkins player didn’t.

The Woodlands’ sophomore running back Nico Lopez said, “At first, I didn’t think too much of it. When the play was over, we just thought he had a broken bone or something not real serious. Then things got serious. It escalated quickly.”

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The injured Tompkins’ player, who name was not disclosed due to Family Education Rights and Privacy Act,  was eventually Life Flighted off the field after a 40-minute delay.

Before the seriousness of the injury was really known, Ryan Ferrini, a junior linebacker for The Woodlands, remembers preparing to go in the game with only five seconds left on the clock, hoping he’d be able to score the winning touchdown.

“I was getting ready for that,” Ferrini said. “But once I heard he was getting LifeFlighted, I just didn’t feel right about pushing it in (anymore).”

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The Woodlands’ coach, David Colschen, said after the game, “We’re here to teach kids, and there’s a lot of lessons learned through football and sports,” he added. “When I looked across the field and saw their players together praying, I saw tears in their eyes and their coaches had tears in their eyes. There was not going to be a win-win (situation) here.”

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“If we would have lined up and punched it into the end zone, do we celebrate?” Colschen said. “And if they stop us, do they celebrate? Their teammate is about to be LifeFlighted. It just was the right thing to do.”

With The Woodlands simply a yard away from a potential victory, Colschen knew he had to make the right call on this last play.

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He ultimately decided his team should take a knee at the snap and give Katy Tompkins the win.

Tompkins’ athletic director and football coach, Anthony Tademy, said they were all touched by The Woodlands’ decision. “It showed a lot of class,” Tademy said. “It wasn’t about a win or a loss.”

“I think it was good that we kneeled to show respect to them,” Lopez said. “Like one our coaches said, ‘It’s more than just a game.’”