Fierce football rivalry set aside for teen team manager - Dallas News |

Fierce football rivalry set aside for teen team manager

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The rivalry between Downing and Shadow Ridge Middle School is similar to the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. It's fierce.
However, the two teams set aside their rivalry to give a 16-year-old a chance to make the play of his life.

On Tuesday, late in the first quarter Downing had the ball. The play called for Eiler Buck. He has spent the past couple of years managing the team.

The 8th grade football fan with a diminished physical capacity cannot speak nor walk long distances. He uses sign language to communicate.

That didn't stop him from running the ball. "We didn't know exactly when it was gonna happen but we heard a roar from the crowd and we started looking out and here he came trotting out and had his helmet on, and he was ready to bust some heads," said Eiler's dad Alex Buck.

Alex said Eiler has asked several times why he can't play football.

Downing Coach Drew Libby contacted the Shadow Ridge coach to make Eiler's dream come true. "We just thought you know, let's flip the script a little bit you know, let him get out on the field and let our boys cheer him on," said Coach Libby.

After a brief fumble recovery in front of screaming fans, Eiler got the play, "Pro 46 Power". His lead blocker was the quarterback, Jesse Corrals.

He had every intention of protecting his manager and friend down the field.

"We had some assurances that he would not get hurt thanks to Coach Libby," said Eiler's mom Mary Beth Buck.

"It made me feel good about myself cause I was helping other people and I hope it made him feel good," said Corrals.

With a spike that sent him tumbling to the ground in excitement, Eiler got back up and did his favorite endzone dance. It's a dance Eiler learned from Coach Libby. It's based of off the dance Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones performs when he scores.

It's a touchdown Eiler's dad won't ever forget watching.

"Every father wants to see their son succeed on whatever they want to succeed at. Since this was his dream, it touched me to my core," said Alex Buck.
Eiler used his sign language to communicate with his team. He thanked everyone and told them how special it is for him to be on the football team.
"God puts you in a place for a reason and I really thought I had 'em pegged that he was here at Downing. The boys and the coaching staff were gonna change his life and it kinda flipped on us and he has just impacted all our lives so much," said Coach Libby. "He's just such a special treat to have here and I know our boys will never forget him."

Eiler's 40-yard run helped Downing win the game 60-6.

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