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Blaze of glory: Aledo RB with Down syndrome scores first touchdown

Blaze Mayes, Down syndrome Aledo RB scores a touchdown

On Thursday night, thanks to his coaches, teammates and the opposing team, the ninth-grader got his first chance to get in the game.
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On Thursday night, thanks to his coaches, teammates and the opposing team, the ninth-grader got his first chance to get in the game.

Blaze Mayes -- the name alone sounds as if it came straight out of football movie central casting.

And his triumphant scene Thursday night in Aledo? Well, it was enough to make Rudy shed a tear. Or at least Blaze’s mom.

Just after halftime, the ninth-grader with Down syndrome took an inside handoff and rumbled around the right-side, 20 yards to paydirt. His teammates engulfed him in the end zone with a flurry of hugs, high fives and helmet slaps.

“Words can’t even describe it,” said his mother, Lisa Mayes, voice quavering. “It’s extremely important to him.”

Blaze has played with these guys since seventh grade, said his father, Les Mayes. But this was his first time in a game, his first handoff and his first touchdown.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Les said afterward, wrapping his arms around No. 99. “Last week, (his teammates) got him some cleats. And this week, he said, ‘Daddy, I want to play.’ ”

Billy Warren, coach of Aledo High School’s freshman team, along with Aledo varsity coach Steven Wood helped arrange everything with the Saginaw coaches and team -- good sports all.

“We talked to their coaches before the game, and Blaze was just ecstatic about it,” said Warren. “He’s been practicing with the guys for the last three years. He comes out every day, and works really hard. He’s a good kid and has a great attitude.”

And on Thursday night, Blaze was a shining star.

Real-life tensions and issues spill over into the Aledo locker room, as the players and coaches face tough choices before the team's first district game.

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