SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes football team will play for a Rose Bowl title January 2nd against Penn State.
But they’re not the only local team playing for a championship.
Fresh off of winning its second straight state title, the Unified flag football team will play for the national title next month in Austin, Texas. At a recent Utah practice, the team got to meet some of their heroes.
“I’m really good at football,” said Special Olympian C.J. Haerter. “It’s super fun to be here. I love the Utes and I got my jersey on me. Let’s go Utes!”
“The way that you include [in this sport], it’s such a great feeling for these kids that are just special,” said Dave Austin, father of one of the players. “We’ve got a heck of a team. I think we’re going to win the Rose Bowl, and then win the national championship. How does that grab you?”
Dave Austin’s 24-year-old son Daniel is the quarterback on the team.
“He’s our miracle child,” Dave said. “They said he had no chance to survive at birth, and he’s alive and well, and he can wing the ball.”
“It’s awesome,” Daniel said about meeting the Utes. “It was a fun experience. I’ve been around football since I was born.”
And with his long hair, you can’t help but notice some similarities with Utes quarterback Cam Rising.
“It was fun meeting him in person for the first time,” Daniel said. “We both have the same long hair.”
This truly is the University of Utah’s team, since two of the five players in the 5-on-5 games are intramural athletes from Utah.
As memorable of an experience as this was for these Special Olympians, the Utes seemed to have just as much fun.
“Of course, man,” said linebacker Karene Reid. “It takes my breath away. This occupation is so day-to-day, that we forget the impact that we can have. So when I get these chances, it means the world to me.”