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Teen with Down syndrome scores first career TD

WORCESTER, Mass. -- A high school football player’s dedication paid off during a recent game -- the 17-year-old senior with Down syndrome stuck with the team despite never playing in a varsity game.

The teenager, his family, both teams and the 1,500-plus people in attendance will remember Friday night’s game forever because Patrick Myshrall scored a touchdown in his first football game for St. Peter-Marian.

“He shows so much heart and pride wearing that jersey. It’s phenomenal,” said Eddy Tortora, the team’s co-captain.

Myshrall signed up for football this season without telling his parents. He has become a very important member of the team.

“Who am I to stop him?” said St. Peter-Marian Football Coach Tom Henrickson.

Myshrall diligently practices with the team every day, but he had never played in an actual game until last Friday when Henrickson made a deal with the opposing coach.

Coach Henrickson and the coach of Doherty Memorial High School, who was also a friend of his, made a secret deal that if the score was decisive, either way, Myshrall would get the chance to make a play.

“We were up 33-6 with a minute and a half left on the 12-yard line,” said Henrickson.

Both teams called a timeout and Myshrall was sent in.

“He said, ‘Got it coach,’” said Henrickson.

Myshrall took the ball and ran with it.

“There were 1,500-plus people and the place exploded,” said Henrickson. “My wife was in the stands and other people told me there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole St. Peter’s section.”

After the touchdown, Myshrall was surrounded by his joyous teammates.

“He knows the plays by heart, so you tell him the play to run, he’ll run it,” said Tortora. “He’s a great kid; he’s got a great heart. He comes and supports us and we support him. We love having him on the field.”

And the opposing team let him go.

“I was really proud of the Doherty kids because, you know, we weren’t the team winning,” said Doherty High School Coach Sean Mulcahy. “Sometimes it’s easy to be gracious when you’re the winner.”

Myshrall says he and his teammates are like brothers.

“Every coach will preach, ‘We’re a family, we’re a family’ -- Patrick makes that happen,” Henrickson said. “He makes the team. He makes the team family.”

During games, Myshrall helps the team out by drumming up support on the sidelines. The coach says it is possible for Myshrall to see more time on the field.

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