Jaylend Ratliffe, the Scotland High School quarterback, remains in the intensive care unit of a Charlotte hospital after he suffered a serious head injury Tuesday following an ATV in the Laurel Hill community of Scotland County.
Doctors had to remove part of Ratliffe's skull Thursday night to relieve pressure, according to Scotland High School Coach Richard Bailey.
Bailey said Ratliffe was able to respond to loved ones Friday morning by squeezing their hands.
Bailey said doctors are trying to wean Ratliffe off the ventilator and lower his blood pressure.
Doctors had to drill two holes in his head Wednesday night to reduce the brain swelling,Bailey said.
"I never prayed so much and cried so much in my life than I did last night. He's fighting for his life. They have him in a coma because of all the tubes in his brain," said Bailey.
Ratliffe and another member of the football team were injured in an ATV accident in a wooded area off of Maston Road and Cliff Gibson Road in the Laurel Hill Community, which is about 15 miles outside of Laurinburg, Tuesday night.
The other football team member had minor leg injuries and was treated at a hospital and released.
Darwin Williams, the Laurinburg Police Chief and family friend of the Ratliffe's, said this is accident "bigger than football" for the town.
"Jaylend is a wonderful person. This is bigger than football. It's not about football," he said. "We're going to pray that everything works out for him. This kid's loved by everybody in this community."
Williams also said the teen is "a fighter. If anyone can recover from this type of injury, he can."
Ratliffe is going to be a senior next school year, and the quarterback made a commitment to Georgia Tech in May.
He was the 2013 WPDE NewsChannel 15 North Carolina Player of the Year.
Ratliffe has been 28-3 as a starter for the Fighting Scots.
The 6'2" 200 pound Ratliffe led Scotland County to a 15-1 record last season with their only loss in the North Carolina 4-A state championship game.
Ratliffe is a highly prized dual threat quarterback. During his junior season, he rushed for 2,053 yards and 36 touchdowns. He threw for 1,756 yards and 16 touchdowns with only two interceptions.