Stoneman Douglas football honors Feis as spring football begins

Stoneman Douglas football team wear shirts to honor coach Aaron Feis. Courtesy: Jim Rassol (Sun-Sentinel)

Spring football is all about looking forward - preparing for a season, that's still over four months away.

But the Stoneman Douglas football team can't move on, without looking back -to make sure they honor the coach they lost as he was saving their lives.

"This is our comfort zone," exclaims MSD football coach Willis May.

And not much in the Stoneman Douglas community has felt comfortable since the mass shooting at their school on Valentine's Day.

But this week, the football team returned to work for spring practice.

"We have tried to let them say their peace, and tell stories about coach Feis."

Coach Aaron feis, the offensive line coach, was shot and killed trying to shield students from flying bullets.

Feis remains with the team in spirit - on their shirts, which say "Never forget", and in their team slogan for the season - (F)earless (E)nthusiasm (I)ntensity (S)acrifice. And they say "Feis Up".

While emotional wounds that were created on this campus still feel fresh, Coach May knows his team can be part of the healing process.

"We can be the school that had 17 die and 17 injured, but what we're asking now is what can we do to make this community proud?"

The answer to that question is just play the way coach Feis would've wanted them to.

The MSD offensive lineman that performs the best in practice that week will wear number 73 in the game - that was Coach Feis's number when he played for the Eagles. After the season, the number 73 will be retired.