09-19-2009, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
High schooler with Down Syndrome scores TD
Opposing team gives up shutout, lets 15-year-old Zeisel make score late
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - A freshman at Benton High School in St. Joseph, Mo., is being treated like a VIP after scoring the only touchdown for his team in a losing game this week.
Matt Ziesel, 15, has Down Syndrome.
On Monday night, the Benton Cardinals football team was losing its game against Maryville.
"Looking back, it's a great game. At the time we were down 46 to nothing and it was probably the worst-looking game I've ever seen as a coach," Benton Coach Dan McCamy told KMBC's Bev Chapman.
That's when McCamy asked the opposing team to give up a shutout and let Ziesel carry the ball.
"Have you always wanted to play football?" Chapman asked Ziesel.
"Yes, I do play good," Ziesel said.
"His effort's there all the time — he's just like anyone else on the team to us," McCamy said.
So McCamy decided to approach the opposing team for a special play.
"I did come over to some confused looks. They're, like, 'Ten seconds left in the game, 46 to nothing, what is he going to do? Throw in the towel?'" McCamy said.
Instead, he asked them if they would let them run what he called Matt's Play. (YouTube Video Posted Below)
"I don't want him touched. No physical contact, but I want it to be as real as possible," McCamy said.
To add to the effect, McCamy ran along the sidelines, shouting.
"'They're right behind you — you've got to go. They're going to get you. They're going to get you!'" McCamy shouted.
But they didn't. The Maryville team played like champions and let the 5-foot-3, 105-pound running back have the glory of the goal.
"The people at Maryville were terrific. Our fans have always been supportive," said Mike Ziesel, Matt's father.
"You hear the loud cheering and see the support they give him. It's a sign of real sportsmanship and that winning is not the most important thing, or shutouts are not the most important thing," Mike Ziesel said.
Matt's father is a high school athletic director, and all of his brothers and sisters play sports.
McCamy is a former defensive lineman for the University of Missouri.
Isn't that wonderful? Also reminds me of the autistic student who scored 20 points in the last 3 minutes in high school basketball game.