A hard-fought Texas high school football game took a backseat to the realities of life when opponents Gage Smith and Ty Jordan came together for an emotional prayer after the final whistle last week.
Smith asked Jordan if the two friends could say a prayer together for Jordan's mother, Tiffany Jordan, 42, who has stage 4 lung and bone cancer.
"It was meant for just me and him to have a moment and to pray over his family and for his mom,'' Smith told TODAY. "I just wanted to let him know there are other people thinking about him and his family, and let him know he has somebody to turn to."
The two got down on one knee and offered a prayer for Jordan's mom in a solemn moment captured in photos by the wife of Smith's head coach at Sherman High School.
The photos were passed along to Jordan's aunt, Takka Jordan, who posted them on Facebook, where they received more than 100,000 likes before she took the post down from public view on Tuesday night.
The pictures also were sent to Jordan's mother.
"I was speechless,'' Tiffany Jordan told TODAY. "It made me cry. (Smith) didn't have to do that. The fact that he took the time to pray with Ty for me, that took my breath away."
Smith's Sherman team won the regular-season game 56-27 over Jordan and his West Mesquite High School squad. It was a crucial game for Sherman's state playoff aspirations, but that was secondary to Smith's concern for Jordan.
"I would've done that whether we would've won or lost,'' Smith said. "During the game we're enemies and we're gonna play and try to win the game, but you still have that respect for the other opponent. I wanted to do that for him."
"That special moment with Gage, I see that kind of stuff weekly from him," Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez told TODAY. "I see it all the time. I’m glad that other people are having the opportunity to see it, too.”
Jordan is a star running back who is committed to the University of Texas, while Smith is a senior safety and team captain. The two became friends when they played on the same select 7-on-7 flag football team in the spring and summer the past two years.
Smith found out in a group chat online that Jordan's mother had cancer.