Archived Story

Father tribute pays off

Published 11:51am Thursday, October 25, 2012

If you were wondering who No. 82, No. 25 and No. 33 were Friday night, they aren’t new football players who just became eligible. It wasn’t even done to confuse visiting coaches or create problems for the opposing team.

However, it was the decision of four of the seniors to honor their fathers or grandfathers on homecoming and senior night.

Senior defensive end Thomas Fleischman said it was all Blair Sittason’s idea. Sittason wanted to honor his grandfather, Dr. Bob Sittason, who passed away earlier this year.

“His grandfather, ‘Big Bob’ Sittason wore the No. 33,” Fleischman said. “He wanted to wear his number to honor him.”

He asked the coaches and got approval to do that. Fleischman, Sidney Steele and Dylan Thompson joined in on the action as well.

Thompson wore 74 in honor of his father who played at Hartselle High School. Steele wore No. 82 for his father who wore that number at Lee High School.

Fleischman’s father wore the No. 25 in honor of his father who played at Grissom High School.

However, something unusual happened. Fleischman scored his first touchdown. Late in the first quarter, a fumble was lying on the ground right in front of him.

He did what any good defensive player would do. He scooped up the football and raced 54 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, the first of his career. Because he plays on defense, it could be his only career score.

Ironically, his father had one touchdown of his own on a very similar play. Fleischman said he picked up a loose ball on an onside kick and ran for a touchdown.

So on the night he wore his father’s number, Fleischman gets a chance to score a touchdown on a similar play.

“After it was over, I realized what happened and I kind of pointed at him,” he said. “It was kind of a special father-son moment for us.”

It’s these types of moments that make high school football special, and it wouldn’t have been possible unless one player hadn’t wanted to honor his grandfather.

I’m sure “Big Bob” Sittason was smiling down on J.P. Cain Stadium last Friday night.

It’s a homecoming night that none of these fathers and sons will forget for the rest of their lives.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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