Denton coach famous for 99-yard run considers retirement

Lyndon's 99-Yard run was more than an moment.

DENTON -- Lyndon LaPlante has been involved in high school football for 15 years. This might be his last.

"I don't know yet," Lyndon said. "I want to make a big announcement before signing day."

"I always told him he can do the Brett Favre: say he's retired, and then have second thoughts, and come back," said Denton High Head Coach Kevin Atkinson. "My door will always be open."

Lyndon was a boy with Down syndrome with a dream to play high school football. In 2005, his coach turned that dream into a moment -- a 99-yard touchdown run that no one who saw it will ever forget, especially not the 7-year-old who is now a senior quarterback, Colt Atkinson.

"It's something that I'm never going to forget," the quarterback said. "I've been a part of a lot of touchdowns, but there was nothing like that feeling everybody had after he scored."

"Every time I see that video, I want to cry," Lyndon admits.

The story could have ended there, but instead, Coach Atkinson invited Lyndon to join his coaching staff at Keller.

"I started thinking, 'What is he going to do?' And I wanted to give him something that he could look forward to doing every day," Atkinson said.

In 2012, Coach Atkinson took the job at Denton, and he brought Lyndon with him -- thanks in large part to his parents, who drive him to every practice, every day.

"He was five-and-a-half hours old when we were told he had Down syndrome," said his mother, Genni LaPlante. "And you visualize what you think life is going to be like, and the vision is nothing like what it turned out to be."

Lyndon has his own office adjacent to his head coach's office.

For 15 years, he has been a part of Kevin Atkinson's programs. In what might be Lyndon's final season, he works with the coach's son as quarterbacks coach for the 7-1 Broncos.

When he decided to follow Coach Atkinson to Denton in 2012, he did so because he wanted to stay on staff until Colt graduated.

"He always says, 'You're my little brother,'" the quarterback said, "and I definitely look up to him like my big brother and my coach."

"I'm still looking at drills, because I want him to be the next 'him,'" Lyndon said. "To be the best quarterback he can be."

Lyndon and his coach turned a once-in-a-lifetime moment into a lifelong friendship.

"Just because you have a special need doesn't mean you can't do special things," said Coach Atkinson.

And that will continue whether Lyndon retires or not.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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