NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk State University's football team had their first football game of the season at home Saturday night.
It would have been former player Dyshawn Simpkin Jr.'s first football game as a Spartan, but his father was on the field in his honor.
He was a honorary caption for Norfolk State during the coin toss against Virginia State.
Players showed their support in many ways as well.
Simpkins tell News 3, "They all have his number on the back of their helmets and his initials on the back on their helmets. It's real emotional for me, but God is good and everything happens for a reason."
Dyshawn Jr. also would have been a starting player as a defensive back on NSU's football team.
Media outlets out of New Jersey reported he was shot and killed inside of a car in June of 2017.
Dyshawn Jr. was with his cousin who also died.
Since the incident Dyshawn's father turned the tragedy into a triumph by becoming an advocate for non-violence.
The family held a Love and Not Hate march in New Jersey in August in the same neighborhood of the shooting.
Civil Rights activist, Al Sharpton and other city officials led the march.
"Bring the youth awareness up so that this tragedy doesn't keep happening to us in the community and it's going to take a whole village to make that happen," Simpkins explained.
Simpkins is also a local hip hop artist in New Jersey and wrote a song in memory of his son.
"It's real impactful because that's the last track he was on and I can still hear his voice, still hear his intelligence and his charismatic ways about him. He was just an awesome kid," added Simpkins.
He tells News 3 the entire Norfolk State University football team attended Dyshawn Jr.'s funeral in June and police are still looking for the suspects in the fatal shooting.