Pascagoula High Panthers to honor M.J.'s memory on helmets - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula High Panthers to honor M.J.'s memory on helmets

Sports equipment company Riddell provided the decals so the team can honor the memory of M.J. and his dad. (Photo source: WLOX News) Sports equipment company Riddell provided the decals so the team can honor the memory of M.J. and his dad. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Cupit Sign Shop is printing the stickers at no cost. (Photo source: WLOX News) Cupit Sign Shop is printing the stickers at no cost. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Pascagoula High will play its playoff game exactly a week after M.J. Joseph and his dad were killed in a car crash as they were on their way to watch the Panthers play.

A package arrived at the Pascagoula High Field House Thursday afternoon, right before football practice started. Inside were 100 decals with two very special initials: M.J. As the coach placed the decals on the player's helmets, thoughts of M.J. came flooding back.

"Putting this on my helmet makes me feel like he's still there with me, like every step of the way, knowing that he's there watching over me," said Pascagoula High Senior Jakwaize Walker.

The sports equipment company Riddell provided the decals so the team can honor the memory of M.J. and his dad.  Both men were former Pascagoula High Panthers.

"M.J. is their brother. His family's in our thoughts and prayers, and a sticker is just a tiny thing that we can have to keep that memory alive," said Pascagoula High Head Football Coach Lewis Sims.

Fans who attend Friday's playoff game against Brookhaven can also show their support for the grieving family. The Pascagoula Quarterback Club and Pascagoula Athletic Foundation ordered hundreds of stickers with M.J.'s initials on them. Cupit Sign Shop is printing the stickers at no cost. 

"We'll do as many as they need. That's not a problem. I'm a father of six; I can't imagine losing a kid. It's a tough situation," said the owner Norman Cupit.

Despite their sorrow, the Panthers will play with all their heart and with M.J. on their minds.

"It's going to mean we play harder to be honest.  Makes me push myself and push my team. I want to win this game," said Jonathan.

The Josephs will be laid to rest Friday afternoon. The funeral starts at 2:00 p.m. at Union Baptist Church in Pascagoula. The Family Interactive Center on Skip Street will serve as an overflow location where you can watch live streaming of the service.  

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