The 2022-23 high school football season kicked off on Friday night and it was only fitting that Fountain-Fort Carson senior, Myles McClarity led his team onto the field for the home opener.
Just weeks after a breakout junior football season in 2021, Myles was diagnosed with a form of leukemia.
"It was really scary because we don't know what's going on," Myles explained, "We've never been through anything like this."
Following the diagnosis in December 2021, Myles immediately started chemo, stopped going to school and continues to fight for his life everyday.
"He's been the epitome of mental toughness for me," FFC head coach Jake Novotny said. "No high school kid should have to go through what he's had to go through. More than anything, instead of running away from the fight, he's running to it."
The disease has taken its toll on the McClarity family, but they choose to look at the positive.
"I'm a believer in things happen for a reason," Myles mom Faith said. "I don't know what the reason is, but I know as a family it definitely has brought us closer together."
The Fountain-Fort Carson community rallied behind Myles right away.
"To see how supportive the community has been has been so beautiful," Faith said. "It was really instrumental in lifting his spirits."
His coaches and teammates created a "six strong movement" inspired by Myles' jersey number to raise awareness to such a deadly disease.
"I was pretty good last year and people just kind of recognize me by the '6'," Myles smiled.
"Pretty good" is an understatement. Myles finished the 2021 season with 74 tackles and three interceptions, earning him college attention.
"College football has really been a dream of mine for awhile now and I kind of thought it was all over," Myles explained, "but some coaches and schools have stuck with me through this whole process."
But before he can even think about the next level, the 17-year-old has to finish the fight in front of him.
Myles recently entered remission and said he's feeling better day by day.
"The tunnel is still pretty long but he'll go (to chemo) less frequently and will go back to school," Faith said. "We're seeing some light there, so we're just working really hard to stay the course."
Despite not being able to compete with the Trojans this season, Myles is still leaving a positive mark and inspiring others from the sidelines.
"He's a really good football player, but more than that he's a great kid, he's humble and he's the kind of kid you want to have in your school and your program," Coach Novotny said. "We love everything about him."