The Grant Union High varsity football team held a meeting on campus today to determine how it will move forward with its playoff run after one of their own was killed. Five players were in a car Friday afternoon, when gun fire struck two of them and ultimately killed the driver, 17-year-old Jaulon Clavo.
In a closed meeting, dozens of players, their parents and family gathered still trying to make sense of what happened to Clavo. Teammate Javion Moore-Smith said everyone knew Clavo as J.J. and he was a big part of the team.
"Kind of guy he was, you feel me, he was a joyful dude like always happy smiling," Moore-Smith said. "And it's going to hurt, you feel me? Not seeing him out on the field with us every Friday. But shoot, he's going to be there in spirit, [as the] 12th man."
That feeling is felt at all ages across what many refer to as the Grant High family.
"I can go home now, cry. Do what I need to do because the strength I have around me," said Grant High head football coach Mike Alberghini. "I mean, I've been here for 47 years, I've seen a lot of things. Nothing is more disheartening than to see a beautiful young child be gone before they had their opportunities."
Alberghini called Saturday's meeting to discuss how the team will move forward. He said his team will make up their playoff game against Modesto on Monday. The original game was postponed, Friday after news of J.J's death.
"The kids, it was their night. They had earned that. They had worked hard all year long to get that opportunity... They were all cheated out of that," Alberghini said.
It's a game many in the community said the players need to heal.
"I'm sure the kids, they want to play," said Hayward Douglas, who graduated Grant in the class of 1965, and has a grandson who attends the school now.
"We want the game to be played here," said Romina Landeros.
But for the players like Moore-Smith, the next game will be about more than just football.
"It's way bigger than any individual on that team — way bigger than me. Way bigger than the star of that team. We lost a brother, that's what it's about. It's not about us no more... When we win the championship, it ain't for the Pacer nation. It's for J.J," Moore-Smith told FOX40.
The second player who was hit by the gunfire, Malik Johnson who was shot in his arm, is expected to recover. Meanwhile Sacramento police are continuing to look for a shooter.