CLOVIS, Calif. - For the Scanlan family, football is in its DNA. Toamalama Scanlan Senior played at Fresno State and coached in the high school ranks. Now his son shares the same passion for the sport and leaves it all out on the field for his father.
A defining moment for high school athletes. What legacy will you leave behind? On Senior Night, these young men will play with every ounce of pride they have.
"It's been a heck of a ride. My teammates, I've built a special bond with them. I couldn't have asked for anything better," said Toa Scanlan Jr.
As Toa Scanlan enters Veteran's Memorial Stadium for maybe the last time, family is in his heart. His mother and siblings ready to cheer him on but his father Toamalama Senior is more than a thousand miles away.
"He's my number one fan. He'd be at every game and every game he always said I could do better," said Toa.
Toa's dad is doing the best he can on his long road to recovery, going through neurological therapy in Colorado. Aftermath of being shot in the neck and head while working as a correctional officer at the Fresno County Jail in September 2016. The tragedy forced Toa to grow up quick.
"I had to take care my sisters, my mom. So it's taught me so much. I've grown so much from it."
As Toa is recognized, he's also surprised. Members of the Fresno County SERT team are on the field with leis on their neck and hugs to give for a father who is here in spirit.
"That's one of the best guys I've ever known and I'm sure he's over there jumping with joy that we're over here to represent," said A.J. Cunha who worked with Scanlan.
Like father, like son. Buchanan High School's Athletic Director says Toa is someone he will always remember.
"He's a gentleman off the field and as soon as he steps inside those white lines, he is an absolute animal," said Buchanan A.D. James Gambrell.
Passion. What Toa says his dad would tell him to play with. A promise he plans to keep.
"And every game I play is for my dad. That's all I ever play for. It's all for my dad. So I leave it all on the field for him," said Toa.