Isaac Huerta, a 15-year-old Lufkin High School student who has a prosthetic leg, wanted to play football simply because his buddies did. On Thursday night, he helped his football buddies score a go-ahead field goal in the last game of their freshman season.
Huerta entered the freshman Purple team’s game against Montgomery on John Outlaw Memorial Field with the score tied at 21 in the third quarter. He lined up at long snapper and fired a strike to the holder, and the Panthers converted the 28-yard field goal to take a 24-21 lead.
“I was kind of nervous at first,” Huerta said Friday morning in an interview in Lufkin High School’s Journalism 101 class. “I stayed calm and looked at the holder. The holder gave me a call, and I just hit him.”
Lufkin gave up a touchdown to Montgomery in the fourth quarter, and the Panthers couldn’t complete a long drive in the final minutes of the game.
Huerta said he doesn’t know how tall he is but that he weighs 108 lbs. He wears No. 88 — the same number that Lufkin legend Dez Bryant wears as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys — but said he didn’t request that number.
Todd Quick, head coach for the Lufkin football program, gave Huerta some pointers before the big field goal Thursday night.
“(Coach Quick) was like, ‘Make the ball go to the (holder’s) knee,” Huerta said.
Huerta said he was born with one leg smaller than the other, so he has worn a prosthetic leg his whole life. He said that when he decided he wanted to play football, his family asked his doctors, who cleared him to play.
Before this year, Huerta played on the Lufkin Middle School football team. He started his freshman year as a kicker on the freshman Gold team but was called up by freshman coaches Sterling Meyers and SaDale Lamb to be a long snapper for the last two games of the year.
Coach Quick said he has told Huerta that his role will be as an onside kick/pooch kick specialist. Coach Quick said he’s proud of the hard work Huerta does to be a productive member of the football program.
“He is a wonderful child who outworks about 90 percent of the people on the team,” the coach said. “We went through boot camp with the drill sergeants in the summer; he didn’t miss a day. He did everything we did — log carry, everything. I fell in love with him that day.”