Special Olympians go for gold in flag football competition

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- In spite of a late night watching the Astros in the World Series, dozens got up early this morning for even more sports, this time on the gridiron.

The Special Olympics athletes were at Westfield High School in Spring ISD this morning for a very special day of football.

Eighty players and even more volunteers came together in the crisp fall weather for a flag football competition. Some of the 80 players are so talented, they'll be going to the national Special Olympics to represent Texas.

"They're out here for the love of the game, they're out here to compete against friends," Special Olympics coordinator Aaron Keith said. "They're not doing it to make a million dollars, they're just out here because they love the game."

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Volunteers and parents are gathered at Westfield High School for a very special tournament.

The boys in orange are divided into groups based on abilities. The day's events represents an opportunity for these students to play while working as part of a team.

The event was also a kind of victory lap-a chance to show off to the other teams.

Gabby Jenkins, 16, was all smiles and gave us a thumbs up after making a touchdown.

"I'm on a team full of really really tall people, and I'm really short, but it's okay," 18-year-old Angelisa Ibarra said. "Tough and tiny, but it's okay."

Dylan White, 21, said he's been playing sports since he was 12, and it's his first time being in the national games in Seattle.

As you can imagine, he's pretty excited.

The members of Team Texas' flag football team are: Gabriel Cantu, Chris Hines, Ashley Jackson (alternate), Zach Krummel, Cristian Loza, Paco Lucatero (alternate), Jared Minson, Xavier Oxford, Jesus Salas, Josh Walker, Dawson White and Dylan White. Coaches are Alejandro Ibarra, Brandon Russell and Chuck Russell.

Special needs athletes get a Little League of their own
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GO CHALLENGERS: For the very first time, 60 children with disabilities are able to enjoy a team sport.

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