GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Twelve years after Darrent Williams was killed during a drive-by shooting in Denver, his son, Darius Williams, is honoring his late father by finding his own success on the football field.

2007 photo of a shooting scene which killed Darrent Williams.

2007 photo of a shooting scene which killed Darrent Williams. (credit: CBS)

Darius Williams wears his father’s No. 27 on the football field. On Saturday, the redshirt sophomore at Texas A&M University – Commerce returned to Colorado for only the second time since his father’s death to play in an NCAA playoff game against the Colorado School of Mines. The first visit was earlier this year when the Lions played CSU Pueblo.

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(credit: CBS)

Few things conjure up more emotions for Broncos fans than Darrent Williams’ No. 27. For two years, the cornerback brought pride and elation to the Mile High.

In 2005 the Broncos drafted the late Darrent Williams out of Oklahoma State in the 2nd round.

Darrent Williams (credit: Getty Images)

On Jan. 1, 2007, family and fans experienced another emotion: heartbreak. Early that morning, the 24-year-old defensive back was shot and killed following a confrontation between Broncos players and gang members at a nightclub. Gunman Willie Clark was later sentenced to life in prison plus 1,152 years.

“I just try not to think about it, man,” Darius told CBS4. “When we found out where we were playing it just kind of came back to the back of my mind… going back out here, I can’t lose again.”

Twelve years later, another No. 27 found success on a Colorado football field. In Texas A&M – Commerce’s win over the Orediggers on Saturday, Darius Williams recorded several tackles.

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Darius Williams (credit: CBS)

“It just feels good to play. I feel like I’m playing out here while he played out here. It’s good to taste the air, man. I guess this is what he was feeling,” Darius said.

While the father and son share the same number and passion for football, Darius is proud to be his own man.

“I just don’t want anybody to feel like they have to give me something. That’s why I don’t try to bring up who I am to people, who my dad was. I just want people to like me for me.”

(credit: CBS)

On game day’s Darius wears tributes to his father. After the game Saturday, he showed socks with his father’s number on them, as well as “LL DW #27” written on his cleats.

While Darius strives to pave his own path, he’s very clear who he wants to honor by doing so.

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“I just try to play for him, man. I feel like he’s playing through me, man. He didn’t get to fulfill his dreams, so he’s playing through me.”

Conor McCue