STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — It didn’t take the Marble Falls High School football program long to decide how the Mustangs would honor Maribel Nikole Enriquez, a classmate who died in a car accident in June.
Head football coach Mike Birdwell said he spoke with girls head soccer coach Cory Maxwell about what to do.
“Every football player is wearing a sticker on their helmet in honor of a fallen Mustang,” Birdwell said. “Coach Maxwell and I talked this summer about her tragic death and wanted to remember her with our play.”
The sticker has her initials and jersey number, 12, underneath a running Mustang.
Maxwell and the Lady Mustangs also will honor Enriquez throughout the soccer season by placing her jersey on the bench at every game. Maxwell said he pitched the idea to his players, and they wholeheartedly agreed.
“To let people know we still remember her,” Maxwell said. “She meant a lot to the team and to our program.”
These deeds are the latest in a series honoring Enriquez, who would have been a senior this year.
The accident occurred in early June. Super Taco, a popular eatery in Marble Falls where Enriquez worked, held a fundraiser in her honor, which yielded $6,000.
Registration fees from the Mustangs and Lady Mustangs soccer camps were donated to Enriquez’s family. Officials with Our Day to Shine, a Texas High School Coaches Association Education Foundation fundraiser, donated an additional $3,000 in support of Enriquez’s family. The Mustangs participated in an Our Day to Shine fundraiser last season.
During the Aug. 25 scrimmage against Liberty Hill, the Mustangs asked attendees to reach deep into their pockets to give back to Our Day to Shine. The goal was to raise $3,000; the athletic department collected more than $2,400.
Maxwell said Our Day to Shine is great because it benefits families of athletes and coaches who need financial assistance. It distributed more than $150,000 last year and has paid out more than $536,000 across the state.
But for Marble Falls, the fundraiser is even more important, Maxwell said.
“When you have one of our players, one of my daughters, who needs it, you’re very appreciative of it,” he said. “Not everybody has the opportunity to reach out and receive help like that.”
Enriquez’s sister, Marisol Reyes, thanked friends and teammates for not forgetting No. 12.
“She would have loved to be remembered that way,” Reyes said. “She loved sports and was a great student and athlete; she was the best of the best. As time goes by, I miss her more and more. We loved her so much. My daughter of 4 years still asks for her. How can you tell a baby her aunt won’t be back? It’s hard, but I hope one day we could understand why.”
“We can’t honor her enough,” Maxwell said. “She was part of the Mustang community and the athletic department. It means a lot to everybody. She’ll always be in our thoughts. Her family will be in our prayers.”