The Vandebilt football team headed back to the field Friday for the first time since their starting quarterback, T.J. Cantrell, and three of his friends were killed in a tragic car accident.

'He was our leader,' coach Laury Dupont said. 'He's going to be looking over us. And I think the strength and spirit of mind will carry us over.'

There was a moment of silence before kickoff. A team, a school, a town reflecting on four lives cut far too short. All the while trying to move on.

'I think everyone's trying to get back to some kind of normalcy.'

For some that process will be brief. For others, it will not.

'Normalcy itself won't be the same,' Dupont said.

That's exactly how Terese Duplantis feels. Ian Hadel, one of the students killed, was her cousin.

'It feels like they're just on vacation or their phone's dead or something and they're just not at school. It's just not real yet to anyone,' she said. 'Once the game starts, it's really going to get to be real. Not seeing number 9 and number 16 out there, it's probably going to hit a lot of us.'

And their opponents know that.

'It touches my heart,' said Kelsey May, a Belle Chasse senior. 'It's really sad.'

That's why at Friday night's game, Belle Chasse students showed their support by handing out ribbons to memorialize the four deceased students.

'We just want to show our support for all the parents and fans coming out here that we support everyone,' said Kelsey May, a Belle Chasse senior.

And that support will go a long way to helping restore the normalcy those connected to this school so desperately seek.

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