They are cross-town rivals but the Westover Wolverines and the 71st Falcons shared the grief of losing classmates, and the struggle to carry on.
"They are very intense, very emotional, but they are playing smart," said 71st Athletic Director Lee Williams.
The Falcons dedicated the first game of the season to Evan Raines. The 71st junior died after football practice earlier this month. Friday night, his parents and other family members were in the crowd cheering on the 71st team.
"They have a guardian angel looking out for them making sure the things work out in their favor," said Evans' father, Rodney Raines.
On the opposite of the field, the Westover Wolverines' players and fans felt the pain of loss too.
Sixteen-year-old basketball standout Ashton Foxx was gunned down during a pool party in July when an argument turned violent. Last weekend, 14-year-old Makayla Dooley died when the truck she was driving hit a pole on Morganton Road and caught fire.
Friday night, Westover fans said their own prayers during a moment of silence before the game.
"I think it's an awesome thing because I knew he [Raines] was close to a lot of students here and at Westover and across the county," said Westover fan Nannette Rogers. "So, I think it's an awesome tribute to him."
The Falcons were leading, when the game was called during the second quarter due to lighting and storms. Fans from both sides rushed from the stands. Coaches say the outcome will be decided Saturday night.