By Steve Patterson / Moving Pictures
MIDLOTHIAN – Prior to Friday’s game between Red Oak and Midlothian, the stadium witnessed one of those heartfelt moments when a father walks onto the field – after being overseas serving our country – and surprises his son.
Midlothian senior Jayce Melton, playing in his final home game as a wide receiver for the Panthers, was the team’s honorary captain that night, and his extended family was there cheer him on – all except his father, U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Danny Melton.
CPO Melton has been home periodically during his deployment, but has missed many of his son’s high school moments – but not his son’s final home game.
Jayce walked onto the field as his father was escorted into the stadium. The game announcer then told Jayce to look behind him to the 50-yard line, where he saw his dad walking toward him in full uniform. The father and son ran and embraced each other as cheers erupted from the crowd. They then stood side-by-side as the National Anthem was played before the game.
After the anthem, it was time to play some football. Neither team had playoff implications on the line and were simply playing for school pride.
Red Oak received the ball first, and C.J. Palmer gashed the Panthers on his first carry. Two plays later, QB Carson Forbes dove into the end zone, and Red Oak found itself in unfamiliar waters with 7-0 lead.
The Panthers struggled early on offense, but eventually got their ground game working and tied the game. The Hawks had 6 first half personal foul penalties and a few other non-personal fouls, all resulting in Midlothian sustaining drives and scoring.
At halftime Red Oak’s lead had vanished and they trailed 13-21, but still in the game.
Things did not fare much better penalty-wise in the 2nd half for the Hawks. The Panthers would score two more times in the second half going up 34-13.
Red Oak finally had an error free drive going when Forbes connected with Hunter Smith on a 73-yard catch and run after Smith got behind the safety. Smith would score the Hawks only 2nd half points. The final was 34-20.
Red Oak will host Mansfield Legacy for their last game of the season at home on Friday, November 10. Senior night festivities will start before the game at 7:00, with kickoff at 7:30.
You can see the Melton father-son reunion video and story here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/military-dad-deployed-overseas-surprises-son-high-school/story?id=50929385