Payton Chapman, a junior defensive linebacker for the Ennis High School football team, endured a scary half hour in the fourth quarter of the Ennis versus Frisco High School game on Nov. 29, as did the large crowd from both schools, seated in complete silence.

The one thing a parent never wants to see or hear when their son is playing football is that their loved one is down on the field and motionless. But that is what Payton’s parents were forced to deal with on Friday afternoon’s playoff game at The Star in Frisco.

No. 22, Payton Chapman, got hit hard on a Frisco sideline play where two to three players ran together trying to make a solid tackle. A Frisco coach rendered aid to Chapman at first, then Ennis coaches started drifting across to the opponent’s sideline to check on their linebacker that had been playing a stellar game against the Raccoons.

Next, an EHS coach ran across the field, back to the Ennis side, to summons Chapman’s parents onto the field to tend to their son as he was carefully being placed on a backboard on the ground.

As all sat and watched the drama play out, the following story emerged from the Ennis stands, as told by Lions photographer Julie Mounts Moreno.

Julie immediately posted on Facebook, “In a moment, when you could have literally heard a pin drop, McKena Taylor (a former graduate of EHS and now an EISD employee) boldly spoke out in prayer for fellow Ennis Lion, injured Payton Chapman. Her voice was heard throughout the sideline, as she stood up to declare healing and protection over him.

"A few moments after the crowd exclaimed 'Amen!,' Payton boldly held up his Lions 'L' for his fellow teammates as he was loaded on the gurney and wheeled towards the awaiting ambulance. Our prayers are with you, Payton!" said Moreno. “This game is for you! The HEART OF A LION, indeed!”  

At the conclusion of the game, as Ennis had beaten the Frisco Raccoons 17-0, the crowd murmured and let out a collective sigh of relief as they exited The Star venue. It had been made known that Chapman was OK, that he had only suffered a broken leg and would be operated on the following morning.

The Ennis folks then went away to their homes exceedingly happy – celebrating a wonderful and exciting win, but also thrilled that Chapman, though injured, would be OK. The entire city of Ennis sends their heartfelt prayers to Payton and the Chapman family.

Head Coach Sam Harrell reports that Chapman “is at home and doing well after surgery on Saturday.”

The following morning, Chapman was operated on to repair the two broken bones in his right leg.

According to Harrell, he underwent further medical treatment on Monday, Dec. 2, and will likely wear a boot on the injured leg for a couple of months. This tenacious young man is hopeful that he will be well enough to return to play EHS baseball in February.