MAYNARDVILLE - On senior night, Union county nose guard Jacob Stiner, a player with special needs, scored his first ever touchdown, a 95-yard run up the middle. He did it for his sister, Hayley.
"I told her, I'll score a touchdown for you, before my senior night is over with, for her,” Jacob said. “So I was on a mission."
Hayley has some health problems. She was first diagnosed with cancer when she was six years old. On top of that, she has neuropathy, meaning she has nerve damage in her feet, and chronic lung disease.
Both Hayley and Jacob’s mother, Betty Stiner, said it’s been tough on the family, in particular, Jacob.
"She stays in the hospital a lot,” she said. “So for us it's hard because we get split a lot. Jacob has to go to school and stuff, so that's hard for Jacob.”
Whether it's on the field with his team, or at home with his friends,football has provided an escape for Jacob. Like any mother, Stiner was nervous to see her son start playing football, but said he loves the game, his teammates and his sister.
“Jacob’s always been big brother,” Betty said. “He's always taken care of sissy, so when he ran the ball that night, I was amazed."
Jacob doesn’t let his special needs hold him back. He continues to be an inspiration for the rest of his family and his community.
“Jake has always been, special, in his own little way,” Betty said. “I've always told him that he can do anything he wanted to do. He's a great kid. He don't let nothing define him.”