On December 14, 2012, the community of Newtown, Connecticut suffered an unspeakable tragedy. The Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting left the community shocked and heartbroken as victims included 20 children and six adult staff members.

But seven years to the day, the Newtown High School football team won the Class LL state championship on a game-winning touchdown to defeat Darien High School 13-7. As time expired, Newtown quarterback Jack Street hit Riley Ward with a 36-yard touchdown pass, ending the game and marking the first state championship for Newtown since 1992.


Ward finished off the pass by running into the end zone and the emotions from teammates, coaches and fans was something special.

On a day that started with vigils and memorial services, the rhetoric of some was that of frustration for the little progress made in combating gun violence, especially with the rise of mass shootings in recent years.

Monsignor Robert Weiss, of St. Rose of Lima Church, told congregants, “On this day seven years ago, we all thought the world was going to change. But it seems we were deluded because the situation has gotten even worse with the violence of guns. We live in fear, we live in anxiety, and yet we live in hope because we know God walks with us.”

But that night proved to be a celebration as fans and players donned green, the Sandy Hook school color and that of which has become associated with the push to end gun violence.

“The whole town showed out on this special night. We knew we had to bring it home for our town”, senior Jared Dunn said.

Ward told the Hartford Courant, “I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I love this town. I love everybody. I’m at a loss for words.”

And the country was at a loss for words as they watched the video of this incredible game-winning pass. In times of tragedy, sports can really do incredible things.

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