WACO, Texas (KWTX) – It was a senior night one Midway athlete with autism will not soon forget after Titus Holdman, 17, scored his first career touchdown with the help of not only his teammates and fans but the opposing squad of Cedar Hill.
Titus got a handoff from Midway quarterback Reid Tedford at the end of the fourth quarter Friday night in Waco and ran 57 yards for a touchdown as both teams followed him into the endzone and celebrated together.
“It felt good,” Titus told KWTX. “It felt good to run that fast.”
The touchdown was a long time in the making for the well-loved senior.
Titus moved from San Antonio four years ago, and has been a member of the Midway football team since his freshman year. He never misses a practice or a game, even though he rarely plays, but that hasn’t stopped him from being the best teammate. This year he was voted team captain.
Midway Head Football Coach Shane Anderson said he’d talked with Cedar Hill’s Head Coach Carlos Lynn earlier in the week about the possibility of letting Titus score if the opportunity presented itself and the Longhorns were all on board.
As the Panthers were down 45 to 17 at the end of the fourth quarter, Titus was called into the game.
It was a surprise not only to him, but also his family.
Titus’s mom Kelley had left the game early because of the cold temperatures and his dad, Michael, just happened to be on the sidelines helping with his two daughters in the marching band when he heard the crowd chanting Titus’s name.
“I went down to the field to help the band with some stuff and I noticed the crowd chanting his name and I noticed he went out on the field so I was watching from the sidelines when it happened,” Michael said.
As the play unfolded, the proud dad became overwhelmed with emotions.
“Tears, um tears, happy and excited,” Michael said when trying to describe his emotions in the moment. “It’s one thing when we have the football team surround him but when it’s the whole student body and just everybody. He is just a great young man and we are very proud of him.”
His teammates helped him line up as the dedicated player got the ball and took off.
Both teams followed running in behind him.
“It was very special to see him,” Anderson said. “He didn’t get a good grasp on the ball. It hit the ground. He picks it up and takes off running and by the end of it he’s running full speed and then to see everybody celebrating in the end zone, it was just a special moment for him and a special moment for his family.”
Anderson said Titus is the epitome of a student athlete at Midway.
“He is here every day. He never misses. He’s always welcoming all the other players into practice,” Anderson said. “He’s one of the first ones here. Just a special young man that’s, you know, a tough young man that’s been resilient throughout his school years and we just wanted to have him an opportunity to be like the rest of the kids.”
And the students and fans loved every moment of the play.
“I think they understand what he means to this program and what he means to Midway,” Anderson said. “I think it was special for them to see him get the opportunity to live out his dreams Friday nights just like they get to.”
Cedar Hill Head Coach Carlos Lynn said his team was happy to play a role in this special moment.
“We were excited to be part of it. You don’t get many opportunities to be a part of great memories like that. Unforgettable moment,” said Lynn.
Titus and his family want to give special thanks to Coach Anderson, the Midway players, the Cedar Hill squad and fans on both sides for showing such sportsmanship and compassion to Titus.
They also want to give a special shoutout to Midway’s Offensive Line Coach Mark Villereal and his wife, Jackie, who teaches Titus at Midway. They say the Villereal’s have been a support for Titus all four years of high school. Titus says “Coach V” helped him learn to put on his football pads as a freshman.
Midway lost the game 45 to 23, but Titus’s mom says the numbers on the scoreboard don’t tell the story of the real victory under the Friday night lights.
“The number on that scoreboard does not show their value,” Kelley said. “Those boys’ values come from their character and that display of character on Friday night, that is invaluable.”
Written by Julie Hays