Scottsdale Christian football players will be 8-year-old Will Mauvis’ biggest fans at SCA’s football field on Saturday when he plays in his first game.
Mauvis has cerebral palsy but his competitive spirit comes out every Friday night when he cheers for his favorite player, SCA freshman quarterback Jack Miller, the state’s leading passer.
Mauvis’ world took on a tragic turn two weeks ago, on a Friday night, when his father, Gerard, settled his wife and son into the stands at Scottsdale Christian to watch Miller lead the football team, before returning to his car to get some cash.
Gerard Mauvis never returned. He was struck by a car crossing Tatum Boulevard and died. He was 46.
The collision could be heard during the game, which was momentarily stopped.
“I remember Jack looking up in stands, trying to find me,” Jack Sr., said. “He said he was concerned about who it was. I remember his eyes. They kept the team on one knee.”
Miller, who is close to the Mauvis family, didn’t know what happened until after he passed for 389 yards and six touchdowns in the 49-7 win over Phoenix Bourgade Catholic.
Gerard Mauvis worked for Jack Sr., who runs the Princess Resort in Scottsdale, for more than four years as the director of operations.
They spent holidays together. The younger Jack would always see the family, and Gerard would always offer an encouraging word, always going to his games.
After Scottsdale Christian’s only loss to Tempe Prep on Sept. 16, Gerard Mauvis approached Miller and told him not to worry, to focus on the next game.
“He would always have something good to say,” Miller said.
Now, Miller wants to help Will as he tries to get through.
“He has been pretty quiet, not talking to anyone, but he started talking a little,” Miller said. “I just told him, ‘Don’t think about it too much. Try to take your mind off of it and have fun.’ ”
Watching the young Miller blossom at the varsity level, leading the SCA football team at quarterback, helps.
Will is expected to attend Jack’s homecoming game next week when the 7-1 Eagles play Phoenix Christian.
“I definitely try to help him,” Jack said.