The brother of slain Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts returned to the high school football field on Friday for his team's season opener, three days after his sister's lifeless body was found in a rural cornfield

By Dave Quinn
August 25, 2018 11:59 AM

The brother of slain Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts returned to the high school football field on Friday for his team’s season opener, three days after his sister’s lifeless body was found in a rural cornfield.

Under the shadow of personal tragedy, Scott Tibbetts — a senior and quarterback at Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom High School in Iowa — helped lead the Bears to victory over challenging team Lisbon, throwing two touchdowns and running another to solidify a 35-24 score, KCRG-9 Reported.

He also recovered a late onside kick in the game, The Des Moines Register reported, to help seal the victory for the Bears.

It was especially emotional considering Scott only decided on Thursday that he would play, The Des Moines Register reported.

“Scott Tibbetts decided last night to play today and led the Bears to a 35-24 win at Lisbon,” explained Register reporter Mark Emmert on Twitter. “The coaches tried to keep things as normal as possible but could see the strain on their players’ faces this week. Tonight, there were plenty of smiles and hugs after the game. A big B-G-M contingent on hand. Nice moment for that community.”

Mollie, a 20-year-old psychology student entering her second year at the University of Iowa, vanished on July 18 after leaving her home in Brooklyn, Iowa, to go for a jog. She had been set to attend a destination wedding for her boyfriend’s brother about two weeks later.

Her body was found on Tuesday, 500 yards into a cornfield about 10 to 12 miles south from where police think she was abducted, an investigator told PEOPLE.

Christhian Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in her death — which preliminary autopsy results show was caused by “multiple sharp force injuries.”

Rivera has not entered a plea to the charge, but his attorney has said he is presumed innocent, describing his client as a hard worker and “loving father” to his young daughter. At his initial court hearing Wednesday, Rivera’s bond was increased from $1 million to $5 million at the urging of prosecutors.

Mollie Tibbetts
| Credit: Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office
Cristhian Rivera
| Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP/Shutterstock

Following confirmation of her death this week, Tibbetts’ family said in a brief statement that they were grief-stricken but grateful for the community’s support. They did not reference her accused killer.

“We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever,” they said.

Mollie’s funeral is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m.