Millville, N.J. (WTXF) - The Millville Midget Football League resumed practice a week after their coach was murdered.
"The reason why we're doing this is because we want to start off a new wave of positivity and unity in our community," said Coach JT Burks as various teams of the Millville Midget Football League locked arms and joined hands to kickoff practice Friday evening.
"Our father, our father, who art in heaven, who art in heaven," they recited. They prayed for unity and protection.
"Father God on this football field we pray that you keep everybody safe Lord," prayed Coach Burks. It's the first practice since the league suffered a devastating blow with the loss of one of their coaches Joseph Jones. Police say someone shot Jones to death a week ago in the parking lot as practice ended on the fields behind Lakeside Middle School.
"Just trying to get back to normalcy for them," said Coach Burks. It’s been a busy past week for him. He led a community peace walk earlier this week and the day after the tragedy he and other coaches brought the community and parents together to rally around the children.
“Just that they have a successful season, stay healthy, stay positive and put it behind them," he said. Steven Chestnut attended practice with his 5 and 7-year-old sons Julian and Stephan. He’s confident that everything will be ok.
"Because of the coaches reaching out to the community, walking around the city and making sure everything is good. I think everything is coming together," said Chestnut. A memorial for Coach Jones remained on the outside of the field as the team pledged to continue the sport they love.
Coaches say the community is joining police to make sure the kids feel safe resuming practice. Men from the community have stepped up to train and work as security as well. Meanwhile, still no arrest in the murder.