Lakeview High School Football Player Overcoming Obstacles, Inspiring Others
(FOX 9) – It’s playoff time for high school football in southwestern Minnesota, and the Lakeview Lakers are hoping to make a splash.
The Lakers went 7-1 in the regular season and in this game they face Minneota in the Divisional Championship.
Sitting on the sidelines, the team’s lucky charm, which helped inspire their winning ways.
“I’m pretty happy that we made it to the sections because I’m a part of it and I’m on the ground at SMSU,” said Terrek Jenniges.
The 15-year-old freshman football player is used to defying expectations.
“It was really fun hanging out with other people and I made a lot of new friends,” Jenniges said.
Jenniges suffers from Caudal Regression Syndrome, which hinders the development of her lower body. He uses a wheelchair to get around, but that didn’t stop him from proving people wrong.
Jenniges is a placeholder for the team’s kickers, ensuring the ball is ready to split amounts on field goals and extra points. He had previously competed in the shot put and discus in track and field, but for his first year he decided to add soccer to his resume.
“No, I never thought I would play football until last year when I asked,” Jenniges said.
“It was last spring and Terrek came into my office and he said, ‘Do you think I could play football?’ I said ‘Absolutely’ without hesitation. He said ‘What do you think I could do?’ I said why don’t you teach you how to hold the kicks and strengthen your upper body”, said Lakeview Lakers football coach Scott Hanson. .
Terrek has been working his upper body since FOX 9 first introduced him to you seven years ago, when a Minneapolis motorcycle club, the Order of Ronin, gave him a handcycle. specialized.
It was the first time he had a bike of his own and it gave him a chance for freedom and being like other kids his age.
“He can ride his bike with his friends and be more independent. Be the little boy he always wanted to be,” Terrek’s mother, Skye Jenniges, told Fox 9 in 2015.
For Terrek, football is also a chance to break free from the complicated challenges of his disability.
And his teammates have welcomed him with open arms, his positive attitude having an equally positive effect on the team.
“Kids will say ‘You know what I can do in life. Look what he does. He does the same thing as me with all my physical abilities and he doesn’t have all of those. But he pushes me to be better as an athlete and as a human being,” Hanson said.
“It’s really cool to see someone who you think couldn’t have done it. I think it’s cool. He defies the odds. That he can do it. He can do anything ‘he wants,” football captain Clayton Kosel said.
Most of the time, Terrek would use his placement skills in practices for the junior varsity team.
But when Hanson put him in a real college game against Lac Qui Parle, it became the highlight of the season for the whole team.
“When Hanson told me I was going to play I had tears in my eyes because I got to play in a football game. It was pretty easy because all I had to do was to catch the ball and put it on the tee but I kind of forgot to put my fingers up and the kicker touched my fingers,” Jenniges said.
“It was a small situation. They weren’t going to rush us. I had no idea and he took the ball. It was good and he held it. I was thrown a bit so I missed the kick but it happened. It was a good experience for him and me too,” said kicker Matheus Ekblom Olsson.
“The moment he came into that game, the moment of that game was pretty surreal. Our whole sideline, the opposing team’s sideline, everyone was encouraging Terrek to get on that pitch and hold that ball,” Hanson said.
Ultimately, the Lakers lost in the playoffs and fell short of their goal of going statewide, but they learned valuable lessons during their special season that could pay off for the rest of their life.
“You just have to reflect and say to yourself ‘never give up’ and all that. That’s what my dad would tell me,” Jenniges said.
‘Coach Grandpa’ suffers from stroke, now recovering
This Lakeview football team has also come together in other ways this season.
On October 13, during pre-game warm-ups, coaching staff member Ray Pederson suffered a stroke.
Pederson, who is affectionately known as “Coach Grandpa”, is now recovering at the VA hospital.
He continued to watch games from the hospital and the team included him by calling him before practices and sending videos.
Ray is truly lucky to have been with the team the night of the stroke to get immediate medical attention.
One of the players, Taiven Isaackson, noticed something was wrong and called for help.
“He was talking to me standing up. I knew something was wrong because the whole left side of his face was drooping. He didn’t look like himself. Then he started tripping backwards. He had a backpack with a string on it. and I grabbed the string and sat him down and called the other coaches. One coach knew right away what was going on.
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