Vandegrift, Hutto teaming up to make senior day special for Vipers manager

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Football coaches are notoriously paranoid — doing anything and everything to keep game plans and plays a secret.

Except for this week.

“This Friday, I’m gonna be suiting up and going against the Hutto Hippos doing ‘T Drive,'” Tommy Hartman said.

‘T Drive’ is a play Vandegrift will run on the opening drive for Hartman to score his first career touchdown on Senior Night. And Hutto knows all about it.

“Tommy’s been so special to us,” Vandegrift head coach Drew Sanders said. “At the beginning of the year, I asked him if he wanted to do it, and he was very excited about that. I asked Coach (Brad) LaPlante, and he jumped at the chance because he’s a great person.”

Hartman, who has austim, is a manager for the Vipers and a team leader, both on and off the field.

“Tommy means a lot,” Vipers senior cornerback Ethan McKinley said. “He motivates us, he’s very encouraging, he looks out for us.”

McKinley is neighbors and friends with Hartman. While Hartman doesn’t normally get to play, McKinley’s seen how much the sport has helped him.

“Freshman year, I think he was a little timid, maybe, but ever since then, he’s grown,” McKinley said. “Just the relationships he’s built with everybody in the program has been awesome.”

“Football means a lot. I watched it when I was a little kid. I just love football,” Hartman said.

“It brightens his day, I think,” Sanders said. “And it’s a two-way street. He brightens ours. I think that we’ve helped him, and I think he loves us. And we love him. So I think it’s enriched his life like he’s enriched ours.”

For as tumultuous as this season has been, Hartman is making the most of it.

“It’s gonna be really exciting because I’ve never scored a touchdown in my life,” he said.

“It’ll be huge for Tommy,” McKinley said. “Tommy’s always wanted to be a football player. For him to suit up and score on senior night, that’s gonna be huge. He already won homecoming king, so this would kinda cap off an amazing season for him.”

“It’s a great reminder about life and how much we should care about each other,” Sanders said.

And that’s no secret.

Watch Tommy’s touchdown run on Friday night against Hutto below.

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