PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Friday was senior night at Pinnacle High School. Something was missing from the field.
"Just even waking up this morning, it just felt a little different. And obviously a little sad," said J.D. Johnson.
Their star quarterback, No. 10 Johnson, spent the game watching from the sidelines. He's coming to terms with his new truth that he'll likely never wear pads again.
"I might get a little emotional," Johnson predicted before the game.
Johnson was born with a heart defect. After getting a stent put in when he was younger, doctors cleared him to play sports.
Now almost ready to graduate, he had a scholarship lined up to play for the University of Michigan.
"I was super excited. They have an awesome program going on up there, awesome coaches," said Johnson.
During a recent tour of campus, Johnson met with doctors in Michigan. Earlier this week, they made the call that would change his life. They said it was too dangerous to let him play at the collegiate level.
"Let's say I got hit wrong, like in the heart area. My aorta could have popped, which is death. Immediately. Because that can't be fixed," said Johnson.
It's a frightening diagnosis for a young man who imagined football in his future.
"He worked so hard to get to where he is. For all of us, it's heartbreaking. It's sad. And I think even more the sadness for him that he doesn't get to finish what he started, is the big thing," said his mother, Suzanne Johnson.
J.D. made the difficult choice to cut his final high school season short.
"It just sucks that it had to come to an end like this. But in reality, my future, having kids, having a wife is more important than playing football," said J.D.
But one thing is for sure, he'll still go to Michigan.
"We talked to (head) Coach (John) Harbaugh. He said, 'It's terrible what's happened. We're still going to honor your scholarship. You're going to come up here and help us any way you can.' Which I'm so blessed for," said Johnson.
J.D. will likely stay on the sidelines, where his future is looking as bright as ever.
"I know God has a plan, and if I just keep believing Him and know that He has a plan and just follow it, everything will work out," said J.D.