CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Gabriel Cooley was remembered Sunday night by a grief-stricken Calallen community in the football stadium where he played for the Wildcats.
Earlier in the day, Cooley was stabbed to death while shopping at the Walmart.
Veteran Calallen football coach Phil Danaher said Cooley was a special player for him.
"He was one of the nicest, polite kids," Danaher said. "He got along with everybody. And he was a lot of fun."
Danaher remembered playfully testing Cooley at practices during his time with the Wildcats.
"When he was working on his kicking, I would go up and challenge him," Danaher said. "And put pressure on him. 'You're kicking for a state championship and there are five seconds to go.' And he would miss it every now and then and I would give him a hard time.
"And he would make it and he would give me a hard time."
Danaher said he was profoundly affected by Cooley's death.
"He was a great kid. He really was," Danaher said. "This was totally uncalled for. Not only am I sad, but I'm mad. I'm mad."
The Wildcats are going to dedicate the upcoming season for Cooley, aiming to win all 16 games and win a state championship in his honor.