The touchdown Patrick Myshrall scored for his Worcester, Mass., high school football team put only seven points on the board in a game that wasn’t even close.
But it scored well beyond that in other ways, capturing the spirit and hearts of his fellow teammates, students and the entire Worcester community.
Patrick, a 17-year-old junior at St. Peter-Marian High, has Down syndrome. He’s just 5-foot-4, weighs just 125 pounds and wears glasses and hearing aids.
Patrick joined the varsity football team this year, unbeknownst to his parents, because he saw the players wearing their uniforms at school and wanted to be part of the team, his mom, Kate Myshrall, told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.
He attends practice every day, but had never played in a game before last Friday night’s game against rival Doherty High School.
In a storyline straight out of a movie, the coach for St. Peter-Marian’s team, Tom Henrickson, asked the Doherty coach, Sean Mulcahy, if he would let Patrick join the game and even put some points on the board, providing the game wasn’t close.
Mulcahy agreed. St. Peter-Marian took a big lead early on in the game and, with the scoreboard reading 33-6 and the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Patrick got his shot.
The junior took the handoff from his quarterback and ran the ball 12 yards straight into the end zone.
And, just like in the movies again, the crowd of 1,500 fans on both sides of the field went wild.
Days after his varsity football debut, Patrick continues to get the movie-star treatment with calls from well-wishers pouring in and local media clamoring to interview the high schooler who stole so many hearts.
Patrick’s story, however, doesn’t end on the football field. He’s not just the only member of the school’s football team with Down syndrome. He’s the only student with the genetic condition, a chromosome deficiency, that causes problems with the way the body and brain develops, to ever attend St. Peter-Marian, a private Catholic high school in this suburb of Boston.
Patrick does not attend special education classes and has the resume of which many a high school student dreams.
He belongs to the National Honor Society, was a member of the Student Council and ran cross-country for two years before he switched his allegiance to the gridiron, WCVB reports.
Even with all the attention on his guts and the glory 12-yard touchdown run, Patrick has kept his eye on the prize and remained a team player.
“It was very exciting,” he told WCVB. “My team was pumped up. I really liked it.”