Cael’s Chance: ADM senior with Down syndrome scores touchdown before graduating


ADEL, Iowa — Touchdowns are worth six points on the scoreboard, but they mean much more to Cael Lockhart.

The Adel-Desoto-Minburn senior is a vital part of the school’s football team, but he did not have a chance to score because he has Down syndrome.

However, ADM coach Garrison Carter decided to make their last regular season home game all about Cael.

“We decided tonight to let him get in his first varsity game,” Carter said. “He’s really grown as a player and as a human being, and we’re excited to watch him finish it tonight.”

Carter arranged for Lockhart to score a touchdown following the coin flip in their matchup versus Saydel High School.

When Lockhart ran the ball in for a score, he immediately spiked the ball in excitement. His teammates surrounded him right after, and Lockhart triumphantly walked off of the field following his touchdown.

Lockhart’s father, Paul, appreciated the gesture.

“It’s special, and there’s nothing more special than watching your son who has worked so hard fill his heart and everyone else’s heart,” Paul Lockhart said.

Cael had scored several touchdowns in freshman and JV games, but this was his first chance to score under the varsity lights. His best friend and teammate, Gabe Heitz, said Cael deserved the opportunity.

“He has showed up to everything since he was a freshman,” Heitz said. “He’s been putting in as much time and as much work as we all have.”

Lockhart is also Adel-Desoto-Minburn’s homecoming king and plays in the school’s marching band.

ADM won their matchup against Saydel 69 to 0.

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