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Down Syndrome Boy's 60-Yard Touchdown Run an Internet Hit
LifeSiteNews ^ | 9/21/09 | Thaddeus M. Baklinski

Posted on 09/21/2009 3:42:30 PM PDT by wagglebee

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri, September 21, 2009 ( - A heart-warming story of true sportsmanship last week turned what might have been a dismal defeat into an extraordinary victory for both teams and everyone who witnessed Matt Ziesel's touchdown run.

Matt, who has Down syndrome, is a freshman at Benton High School in St. Joseph, Mo. Despite his disability he suits up for every football game and cheers on his teammates from the sidelines.

Last Monday night the Benton Cardinals football team was losing its game against the Maryville Spoofhounds 46-0 when, with about ten seconds left in the game, Benton coach Dan McCamy called a timeout and went to confer with Spoofhounds coach David McEnaney.

"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 told NBC Sports.

Instead, he proposed that, if they were not opposed to giving up the shutout, they let Ziesel carry the ball in what he called Matt's Play. "I don't want him touched. No physical contact, but I want it to be as real as possible," McCamy said.

"I said 'Yeah, that's fine coach. Tell him to run all the way to the end zone," coach McEnaney said. "The (Maryville) kids got on board. They were real excited about it."

The Maryville Daily Forum described the play: Following the timeout Ziesel took his spot to the left of the quarterback. The ball was snapped and Ziesel took the ball on a sweep to the right gaining speed as he went. As he raced down the right sideline, Spoofhounds defenders peeled off one after the other.

Ziesel carried the ball for a 60-yard touchdown escorted into the end zone by his teammates who wrapped him in hugs following the score.

The crowd clapped and cheered their approval, and after the game, Matt Ziesel enthused, "I scored a touchdown! 60 yards, I go for touchdown for us!"

McEnaney said the Spoofhounds gave up their shutout but it was a small price to pay in comparison to what they got in return.

"It was a great opportunity for our kids to kind of realize that while, yes, winning is a big deal, there's bigger life lessons out there," McEnaney said.

Mike Ziesel, Matt's father and a high school athletic director, told Fox 4 News, "The people at Maryville were terrific. Our fans have always been supportive.

"Like any school in our conference, or in the area, you want to win. But to see those kids do what they did and their coaching staff, our coaching staff, collaborate on something like that was a feel good situation.

"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.

The touchdown touched the hearts of everyone at the game, and since coach McCamy posted the video to YouTube the day after the game, it has been viewed almost 300,000 times.

The final score of the game was 46-6 in favor of the Spoofhounds, but on that extraordinary Monday night, everybody won.

Watch the YouTube video here. (

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: downsyndrome; football; moralabsolutes; prolife
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To: Libloather

The biggest rule of all - fair play.

41 posted on 09/22/2009 4:52:44 AM PDT by blackminorca
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To: Kimberly GG

“doesn’t mean he would appreciate the dishonesty, should he discover (and no doubt, he can read) his achievement was not of his own making. “


42 posted on 09/22/2009 4:53:55 AM PDT by blackminorca
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To: Kimberly GG

Your thoughts mirror mine. I was hesitant to post them since the words fool and hater are being thrown around here.

IMO, there’s nothing better for kids like this than knowing they did something ON THEIR OWN. Since he’s in High School, and knowing how High School kids are, I’m 100% certain that he’s been told that his “touchdown” was a gimme. I hope that it didn’t hurt him too much.

43 posted on 09/22/2009 5:07:04 AM PDT by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: blackminorca; Kimberly GG

I agree with both of you.

While I am happy to see that the opposing players and coaches had the class to go along, I am also somewhat disturbed by Matt’s coach coming up with this idea.

Locally, we have a martial arts instructor who accepted and eventually promoted to black belt, an individual confined to a wheel chair who also has disabilities that impair the use of at least one arm.

Why would anyone set up another individual with false expectations?

While I applaud that instructor for his patience, I have issues with what he has done. This poor student in his mind believes he is a black belt, yet any untrained thug could rob and or kill this “black belt” with impunity.

Same goes for this young man - in his mind he scored a 60 yard touchdown run, when in reality he was demeaned by his own well-meaning coach.

We, as a society, are starting to see the effects of the last 60 years or so of the progressives’ everyone is equal and we will use the force of government to force that belief on society” mindset, when Matt’s coaches’ actions are applauded and wheelchair-bound invalids are promoted to black belt.

We aren’t equal, and can never be, because God made us as individuals.


44 posted on 09/22/2009 5:09:01 AM PDT by Abundy
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