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Kendall’s sectional contest has a special moment, a special goal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Zach Adams, center, who is shown here with his brother Jake and mother Kelly, scored a special goal in Kendall’s sectional opener against Bolivar-Richburg Wednesday.

All too often today the true value and meaning of sports and sportsmanship gets lost in the quest to win, especially at playoff time when the determination, fervor and drive to win among players and teams is greatly intensified.

However, that was not the case this Wednesday during a boys sectional soccer game between Kendall and Bolivar-Richburg when a special moment took place that reflects what sports and competition is really all about.

With about five minutes to go and top seeded Kendall holding a 6-0 lead over Bolivar-Richburg, Kendall Coach Brian Duffy subbed in Zach Adams, a senior with Downs Syndrome who was one of several players called up from the JV team for the sectionals.

What followed was a storybook picture of true sportsmanship, caring and compassion for a fellow athlete as players from both teams worked to help get Zach get into position to score his most memorable first varsity goal which fittingly came off an assist from his brother Jake.

“It’s just so overpowering I think I went into shock. At first I didn’t even realize that Jake had assisted on the goal. It’s really hard to put into words what it means to Zach and to our family,” said Zach and Jake’s mother Kelly. “The Bolivar-Richburg players just took it upon themselves to help make it possible. It was just so overpowering.”

The congratulatory celebration by players from both teams which followed was a display of true sportsmanship and a respect and compassion for one’s opponent that is all too often lacking today.

“The kids on both teams saw just something bigger and more important that the score,” said Kendall Athletic Director Kevin Watson. “It was just a really neat thing and to have his brother get the assist on the goal was the icing on the cake.”

“I was just amazed to see how quickly the Bolivar-Richburg players realized that the Kendall players were trying to get Zach the ball and all of a sudden it clicked,” said Zach and Jake’s dad Tom. “He’s never scored a goal before. It was beautiful. It was great. This will be the highlight for him. I can’t say enough about the Bolivar-Richburg players. I think they took it upon themselves to do that. They are a group of impressive young men. They played with class the whole game.”

Zach, a senior, has played on the JV team the past two years.

“Zach is a good athlete. He has completed in the Special Olympics and he plays every sport to the best of his ability,” said his dad. “To have that kind of drive to play sports is really something. He contributed to the JV team and put in some quality minutes. But for him just getting called up to the varsity, to the big club, for the sectionals was a big thing and then to score a goal, that will really be the highlight. That will be tough to trump.”