LOCKHART (KXAN) — During this pandemic, we’ve seen just how much people value football.
“God, family, fooball,” Desmond Pulliam said when asked what football means to him.
But we’ve also seen what all football can do — bring a community together, serve as a platform for social justice and provide everyone a sense of normalcy.
“Life is not all about football, but football is all about life,” Lockhart head coach Todd Moebes said.
That was fully evident on Thursday, when Lockhart hosted Bastrop in a scrimmage, and Pulliam made the play of the game for the Lions.
Late in the scrimmage, Pulliam, a defensive lineman for Lockhart who also has autism, got in the game, recovered a fumbled snap, and scored his first career touchdown.
“It was awesome,” Pulliam said afterwards. “I was hearing the crowd cheering. Everybody was running behind me. I was hyped. Everybody was hyped. I was the boss.”
Moebes came up with the idea for Pulliam to score a defensive touchdown, and he spent the past two weeks coaching him up on scoop-and-score situations.
“It’s all about doing the right things that’s good for people, what makes people smile,” Moebes said. “Life is short, we need to have fun, enjoy it. Hopefully, there were six seconds that everybody in attendance was able to take a little bit of a deep breath and say, ‘You know what, I think everything’s gonna be all right.’ And Desmond is certainly to thank for that.”
But for the play to work, rival Bastrop had to go along with it, too.
“All the coaches were in on it, all the players, we loved it,” said Bears quarterback Luke Williams, who fumbled the snap that Pulliam recovered and scored. “He might not get very many options to really shine out there, so it was just great for him to get out there and really experience what it’s like to play football.”
“A lot of times, we are judged by wins and losses, but it’s about the lives we impact,” Bastrop head coach Todd Patmon said. “We had a chance to help have a huge impact on a young man, and our kids were more than willing and excited about it.”
While Pulliam has autism, it’s not who he is. And just because he plays football, that doesn’t define him, either.
Along with being on the football team, Pulliam is a member of ROTC and the Lockhart band.
“He’s one of the guys,” Moebes said. “He’s a member of this football team, he’s a member of the Roaring Lion Band. He’s a student of Lockhart High School. All of those things are who Desmond Pulliam is.”
And on Thursday night, all of that was on full display.