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Big time addition to small town football team in Red Oak

Chris Ranney is the newest running back for the Red Oak Tigers, fulfilling his dream to play the sport he loves.
Posted at 7:10 PM, Aug 23, 2022

RED OAK, Iowa (KMTV) — The Red Oak Tigers are getting ready to kick off their football season this year with a new player.

“I have all my friends right here,” Chris Ranney said. “I'm gonna score a touchdown right on this field.”

Chris is the newest running back for the Red Oak Tigers football team, while they haven’t had their first official game yet, he's already left quite the impression.

“He scored more touchdowns than I have,” Dawson Bond, Chris’ teammate said. “He had more rushing yards than most of the team.”

Its obvious football is Chris' favorite sport, but what wasn't clear was if he would ever get the chance to play.

Janeese Ranney is Chris’ adopted mom. She had concerns about exposing her son, who has autism, to the sport.

“As a mom with a special needs child you're always scared to death to have them do any sort of physical contact sport,” Ranney said. “I didn't know if the kids would be accepting of him or how it would work at all.”

Chris expressed interest in the game and when word got to Tigers Head Coach Michael Nordeen, he said the team was all in.

“The team was all about it. The coaches staff was too,” he said.

Dawson said Chris’ positivity, no matter the challenge, leaves the greatest impact on the team as a whole.

“Every day at practice he's super energetic,” Bond said. “He's running around, even when it's raining, he's having fun. He really helps all of us have fun and stay positive.”

No matter their record this year, coach Nordeen and Janeese said having Chris on the team is a win-win.

“It's about how they treat their family, how they treat their community and how they give back to everybody,” Nordeen said. “That's exactly what they're doing, we're building championship people here.”

“He's very social, the kids just love him and take to him and I'm so thankful for that,” said Janeese.

The Red Oak Tigers will kick off their season this Friday night at 7 p.m.

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