BRYANT, Ark. — Under the bright lights, the Bryant Hornets are ready for the roars of the crowd— but there was another star on the field tonight, at just nine years old.
"Excited and nervous," EmmaRae Caudell said.
She's always been a big fan of sports, especially softball, just like her father, Joshua.
"The sweetest, and the best dad," EmmaRae described, smiling.
But she wasn't at the stadium to watch the Hornets play, she was there for her dad.
"He got a phone call at 2 o'clock, ready to head out," said Lorna-Beth Caudell, wife of Joshua and mother to EmmaRae. "Four o'clock he was gone. I mean, it's very hard.
Joshua, a K-9 handler with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, died in the line of duty in February— a loss that hasn't been easy for the Caudells.
"She's an amazing kid," Lorna-Beth said. "She misses him."
And Mike Glisson knew that she did.
"We choose a child that's going through some type of adversity and surprise them at the high school football game where they'll eventually attend," Glisson explained.
For the past decade, he's been surprising kids who are going through similar struggles as EmmaRae.
Glisson is with the Adam Brown Award, an annual award given to a student going through some sort of adversity, which is why he met EmmaRae tonight— to let her know that Bryant cares.
In a pregame ceremony, EmmaRae was honored at midfield.
She walked out hand-in-hand with her mom, to cheers from the crowd, and was given a plaque and gifts.
The memories will eventually fade— even the good ones.
"It says super dad," EmmaRae said, describing her favorite memory of her dad, and a gift she gave him. "I got it for him for Christmas."
But she'll never forget the man who made her house a home.
"I hope that we're making a child that's had a rough life or rough situation feel better about themselves," Glisson said. "At least for a night."
Adam Brown was a Navy SEAL who died overseas in 2010. Glisson, his former football coach, said that part of giving this award out is to not only honor the recipients— but also to keep Brown's memory alive.