Cape Central football team manager gets special moment on the field

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Garrett Jones, a senior special needs student and Cape Girardeau Central football team manager, stands on the sideline in uniform during the team's regular-season finale versus Soldan International Studies on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 at Cape Girardeau Central High School. Jones, who is also a team manager with the school's baseball and girls basketball programs, got an opportunity to play against Soldan, scoring a 2-point conversion in a 54-20 Tiger victory.
Josh Mlot

The chant started when Cape Girardeau Central senior Garrett Jones entered the game Friday early in the first quarter.

"Garrett, Garrett, Garrett," the Tigers' faithful yelled in unison.

After Jones, a football manager and special-needs student, scored on the two-point conversion Central's players mobbed him in the end zone. He returned to the sideline with a grin from ear to ear, savoring the moment. During the Tigers' 54-20 win on Senior Night, Jones' touch was one of the most celebrated moments.

"It was an awesome to see him score, and he had a big smile on his face," said Michelle Jones, Garrett's mother. "He's always wanted to play but really never could. So this was really great that they let him do this."

Michelle learned that Garrett would play Friday about a month ago. There was anticipation leading up to the game along with some nerves from Garrett.

Following the game the trepidation was gone. He posed for pictures with everyone from friend and linebacker Trent Leimer to starting quarterback Kway'Chon Chisom's father.

"That's our brother," Chisom said. "He's a part of the team, too. He's been with us since junior high, too. So he came a long way. That's our homie. We love Garrett."

Jones was honored before the game along with the football seniors, including Chisom and Leimer. His introduction in the pregame ceremony received one of the loudest cheers.

Then, after Central's first touchdown of the game, he entered as a running back for the 2-point conversion as the crowd shouted his name. Soldan's defense parted, Jones scored and the Tigers surrounded him.

"It was awesome to be a part of," Tigers coach Arlen Pixley said. "It gave me cold chills. I wanted to cry. It was just amazing."

In return, Central allowed Soldan to score a 2-point conversion after the visitors' first touchdown to applause from the crowd.

"We've been planning this for a while," Pixley said. "Hats off to coach [Jarrett] Kendall, the head coach of Soldan, for being a classy man, and his players for allowing that to happen this evening for Garrett and his family."

Jones also helps out with the baseball and girls basketball team and has known Leimer since the second grade.

"He's been a manager ever since we started playing sports at Cape," Leimer said.

Friday, he got the chance to be the one playing.

"He's a sports-lover," Michelle said. "He's in his element."