Lockhart football player with autism scores his first touchdown
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart Lions looked good in their season-opening scrimmage against Bastrop, but that was hardly the main story of the evening.
For four years, Desmond Pulliam’ has dreamed of scoring his first career touchdown in high school football. On Thursday night, Pulliam made that dream come true. Pulliam, a senior defensive lineman with autism spectrum disorder, entered the final play of the scrimmage with chants of “Desmond” echoing from the crowd and his teammates. That, in and of itself, was a magical moment.
Pulliam took his place on the line with Lions’ punt return unit. The center snapped the ball and sent it wildly to the left of the punter. Pulliam scooped the ball up and took off toward the endzone. The rest of his teammates cleared the sideline and chased him down the field, circling around him and cheering loudly during his moment of glory.
Soon after, Pulliam spotted his family on the sideline and shouted, “I did it!” before pulling his mother in for hug.
I cried when it happened, and I started to cry again as I wrote this.
“I was hearing the crowd cheering. Everyone was running behind me,” Pulliam said after the game. “I was running so fast. I was hyped … Everybody was hyped.”
Head coach Todd Moebes was pleased after the game that he was able to witness the event.
“Can’t say it enough: life is not all about football, but football is all about life,” said Moebes. “Being able to create these opportunities through a game, through a platform, to be able to connect the dots with the media to the game to the heart and soul of people, it’s what it’s all about.
Moebes said he hoped it was a moment that touched everyone in attendance.
“It’s been some trying times,” he said. “But one thing is, when we get down in our soul it’s all about doing the right things that’s good for people and what makes people smile … Hopefully it was six seconds that everybody in attendance was able to take a little bit of a deep breath and say, ‘You know what, everything is going to be alright.’ Desmond is certainly to thank for that.”
Although the previous portion of the game wasn’t as exciting as Pulliam’s touchdown, it did demonstrate that the Lions could be a force to be reckoned with this year.
Returning offensive starters this year include senior quarterback Jackie Edwards Jr. and senior wide receiver Robert Branch. The two developed a nice report last year, and they seemed to build on that chemistry considerably, connecting for multiple deep passes down the field.
Also returning are senior running back Jordan Garcia and senior running. Back and tight end Noah Garcia. Noah exited a game late in the schedule with a season-ending injury last year, but it appears his recovery went smoothly. Both Garcias played well Thursday night, with several long runs between them.
Only one game simulated quarter was played during the scrimmage, but Lockhart’s offense put up three scores in that time.
The defensive unit also looked good during the scrimmage, forcing an early turnover with an interception.
Overall, it appears this year’s squad has built on the their successful first year with Moebes, even considering the truncated offseason caused by COVID shutdowns.
The Lions will take the field for their first regular season game against Buda Johnson at Lockhart High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.