CLAY COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — There is a positive update in the recovery of a high school football player from Clay County that was injured in a car crash earlier this week.

Jacob Morton was critically injured in an accident in Nicholas County, WV when coming home from practice.

On Friday, students prepared for the football game against Braxton County with their classmate close to heart.

“To his closest friends and family, he is probably Jacob or Jake, but to us he is Salty,” said Clay County Head Football Coach Jason Nichols.

It has been a challenging week as Morton’s friends and teachers hoped for good news. He had been fighting for his life after suffering significant injuries.

There was a reason to smile on Friday as word came that “Salty” was awake.

“We got a message that he had woken up and he is speaking and even wanted a drink of Coke,” Nichols said.

Morton is a star on the field, breaking records and raising the bar.

“He is undersized and plays well above his stature. He was first-team All-State last season. He is a 170 pound defensive lineman who owns the school record for the most sacks,” the coach said.

As the football team gets ready for one of their biggest games of the season their minds and hearts are with their teammate. The Panthers’ game against Braxton County will go on as scheduled.

“There was definitely uncertainty about the game,” Nichols said. “However, I talked to Mr. Morton and he assured me that it must be played.”

Morton’s closest friends said he’d want them to leave it all on the field.

“He’d definitely just want the team to go out there and win because it is just him,” said close friend and teammate Charlie Cottrill. “His dad even said he’d be mad if we changed anything, the day of the game, anything about it, so we are playing with two days of practice after the horrible incident.”

There was a short pep rally at the school Friday. The principal took a moment to update students on Jacob Morton’s condition.

“It does feel good to know that these kids care and will take care of their own,” said Clay County High School Principal Allen Tanner.