Football offers boy happiness after he loses his best friend

A Phoenix youth football team came together to support one of their own in the wake of his loss.

Saturday morning at Pinnacle High School in north Phoenix, the Phoenix Storm youth football team got ready to face off against the Phoenix Firebirds.

Among them was 9-year-old Will DeMauvise, the newest player on the team. 

12 News was there as he put on number 12 for the very first time. 

"Will always wanted to play football, and his father and I were having a conversation just this past month about him playing football," said Marlee Mauvis, Will's mother.

Her husband, Gerard Mauvis, would never let anything, including Will's cerebral palsy, keep him from enjoying a sport the two of them loved.

"Sundays were our family days and it was football family day. And they'd sit there together and watch football, just connect, and they were best friends," said Mauvis about her husband and son. 

As team captain of the Storm's peewee team, Will is on the field, in the huddle, calling plays and helping his team get pumped up. 

Football has been offering him and his family a few moments of happiness after an unimaginable tragedy. 

A little more than two weeks ago, his dad, 46-year-old Gerard, was struck and killed by a car outside of a football game in Scottsdale. 

Players are now helping Will get through a difficult time. 

"It's a good distraction. It really is," said Marlee. "We're thankful to have the Storm, friends and family."

"These boys took to Will, and Will took to them like nothing I've never seen," said John Pleskovitch, the President of the Phoenix Storm. 

"This group of players, parents and families really rallied around this young man," he said.

Players also wanted to make sure Will got the full experience of playing on the field. 

That meant putting him in for a chance to play. 

And as the crowd watched and cheered, with the help of the Firebirds, Will went in and scored a touchdown.

It was a priceless feeling every player wanted him to have the chance to experience. 

"He's just always wanted to play football, and he got his chance today," said Tate Andrus, a fellow player. 

"That's pretty much in Gerard's spirit," said Marlee. "Where there's a will, no pun intended, there's a way." 

"We're really blessed to have the Storm and our family and everyone who made this happen," she said. 

Will was a little camera shy with all the attention.

If you'd like to help the Mauvis family you can follow this link.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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