The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 12, 2014

St. Francis signs 10-year-old

LORETTO — He can play two positions. He proved Friday that he could handle the bright lights of a television interview. It seems as though the St. Francis football team has found a blue chip recruit in Brent Zierer.

The 10-year-old from Johnstown signed his official letter of intent to become a member of the St. Francis football squad.

The problem for coach Chris Villarrial will be deciding on what side of the ball to play him. He's a running back and linebacker, and he said his game is based totally on his speed.

Before the end of the press conference, some of his new teammates that crowded into the pressroom were trying to convince him to help out at other positions around the field.

Zierer came to the team through a joint effort from members of the football team, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Team IMPACT. The mission of Team IMPACT is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by establishing and expanding vibrant team-based support networks.

The football team advocates working with Team IMPACT are Westmont Hilltop graduate Garrett Lucas and Colin Gdula of Forest Hills along with Matt Camilletti, Frank Failace, Capri Thompson, Anthony Abeid, Kaena Moose, Franklyn Williamson, Steve Schmitt, Lance Geesey, Max Ward, Sebastian Hofmann, Dylan Bear, Kadarrius Campbell and Anthony Damiano.

At 9-months-old, Zierer was diagnosed with Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), which is a primary immunodeficiency disorder where Zierer does not have an immune system and thus his body is not able to fight off infections. Zierer receives Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions five days a week, which provides sufficient antibodies to help prevent infection.

Those things were far from the minds of those gathered as Zierer donned his red No. 12 jersey and official helmet, covered in the signatures of his new teammates. Zierer's big weekend continues today at the Red Flash spring game.

He will lead the team onto the field and will join the offense for a play at halftime. The game begins at noon.

A multi-talented athlete, Zierer plays soccer, baseball, football and basketball. He's also earned his black belt in karate. Zierer will lead the football team onto the field prior to the spring game, and the coaching staff is rumored to be designing a special offensive package for Brent to run during the game.


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