WACO, Texas (KWTX) For these Texas boys, football is more than a game, it’s an opportunity to learn, grow and see their family.
Friday night, Gainesville State School football team played Giddings State School in the semifinals. Gainesville defeated Giddings and will be advancing to the finals but all of the players left as winners.
Giddings State School player, Nathan Ponce learned the hard way that life is filled with wins but also with losses.
“When I was 15 I was a party I happened to have a gun and I was under the influence of Xanax and marijuana and I accidentally shot my friend and I ended up getting 7 years,” Ponce said.
Ponce has now served at the Giddings facility for the last two years. He said there he has had teachers and his coaches who have poured into him.
“I don’t know how much football I am teaching them but I am hoping I am teaching them life lessons,” Giddings Head Coach, Sandy Brown.
Brown hopes he can teach the kids how to tackle the mistakes and hard hits you may take in life.
“We’re going to mess up but we need to learn from that mistake when you mess up you got to learn from that mistake and try not to do it again,” Capstone teacher Sandra Alexander said.
After battling against Gainesville and coming up short, Ponce still left the field a winner.
“It’s upsetting but you got to learn to move on, you can’t just dwell on the things you do you just got to jump up and get better from it….you can’t just be like I am just going to quit,” Ponce said. “You got to keep going, no point in giving up it's not going to get you nowhere.”
For one night it was like he was back at home in San Antonio, with his family cheering him on the bleachers.
“It means that I get to see my little brother play the game that he genuinely loves to play and I get to see him and I get to cheer him on the way I used to when I was little,” Nathan’s sister, Serenity Ponce said.
After serving his time, Ponce hopes he can get a diploma and one-day return to playing the game he has learned from and loves.
With every mistake, there is a lesson to learn and Ponce says he has done just that.