It was a dreary Thursday afternoon in McComb, Ohio when NBC24 sat down to talk to the Panthers football team manager. Grey skies were hovering over an empty football field. The team had traded the chilly conditions outside for an indoor practice, allowing team manager Tyler Brown to enjoy an easy day at the office.
"Normally, during practice I'll get water for Coach Alge or ball or whatever he needs done, but, today, we are...just running through for tomorrow's game," said Brown.
Since the seventh grade, Tyler has been the Panthers sideline manager. "For as long as I can remember I've been a big football fan. I've liked it all my life."
So, why doesn't this 6'2" tall, 205 lbs. high school junior suit up and take some reps? Before his first birthday, doctors told Tyler's parents that their son was legally blind.
Though he shared the same passion for sports as his friends, growing up, Tyler could never get in the game. Since he has never really played the game, he feels he never missed out. "I never really had the opportunity to know what I was missing, until now."
Earlier this year, McComb head coach Kris Alge got a crazy idea. "I think it was last Spring (Tyler) started getting into lifting weights and started getting buff," said Alge.
"This year Coach Alge said, 'Hey, I want to get you out there, play a little bit.' I thought he was joking," said Brown.
Coach Alge was serious and Tyler saw his first piece of Varsity play in a game against Van Buren in week three of Northwest Ohio high school football.
Then, on Oct. 2, in a game against Vanlue, with the ball spotted at the 1-yard line, Tyler had his first crack at a touchdown. No dice.
Another opportunity came later in the game, and this time, Tyler fumbled the football. "There was a huge hold, I would have scored...I let it slip out of my hands. I thought my opportunity was gone," recalls Tyler.
At halftime, Coach Alge's center told him to put Tyler back in the game at quarterback. A little while later, the ball was at the 1-yard line again and this time the snap came to Tyler. "(I) kind of took a couple steps to my left and then a couple of our seniors gave me a nice boost to get me into the end zone," said Tyler. "It was a dream come true. It was unreal...something few people with sight get to experience. So, for me, it was tremendous to have the opportunity."
Tyler did something amazing that night, but he is still modest, "There are plenty of people that are far worse than I am here. Put your mind to it. Achieve what you want to achieve."