Brady Blakley was a senior and wanted one more season of high school football. He was one of the area’s best players. Football had connected him with his dad, Mike, who had died of cancer. Brady loved football.
Brady’s game is 6-man football. Six players on a side, instead of 11. His school is Harrold High School in north central Texas, about 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
Harrold had five players out for the team in 2016. The Harrold Hornets needed one more to compete.
In stepped Olivia Perez, an all-district volleyball player. She would play football, she told Brady in a Snapchat conversation, for him, so Brady could have his final season.
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ESPN on Sunday will profile the heartwarming story of one friend helping another as part of their documentary on 6-man football in Texas airing at 10 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
“She was scared to death when she got out there,” Harrold football coach Craig Templeton says.
“You don’t hear of kids doing this. It’s so unselfish.”
That’s part of a profile piece by ESPN.com’s Elizabeth Merrill on Harrold, Brady and Olivia and the changes time have wrought on the people in small towns like Harrold west of Fort Worth.
Harrold, you may recall, has made national news before. Twice. In 2008, Harrold became the first school in the United States to allow its teachers to carry concealed guns in class,
As to how Olivia did in football?
ESPN reports that “there was sort of an unspoken understanding among the local teams that no one would lay a hard tackle on her.” Chillicothe’s coach took it a step further, Olivia told ESPN. “He said if anybody hit me really hard, he was going to make them run.”