New Castle News

Closer Look

April 8, 2013

Must-See Video: Tiny cancer patient scores TD in college game

LINCOLN, Neb. — Jack Hoffman just might go down as the biggest star of the Nebraska spring game.

And he's only 7 years old.

Hoffman, of Atkinson, Neb., has won the hearts of fans and everyone in the football program for his courageous bout with brain cancer. Star running back Rex Burkhead befriended Jack last year and is the captain of the support network known as "Team Jack."

Wearing a miniature Burkhead uniform complete with a No. 22 jersey, Jack ran onto the field late in Saturday's scrimmage.

On a fourth-and-1 play, he took a handoff from Taylor Martinez. Jack started running left, but Martinez redirected him. The little guy turned on a dime and followed a wall of blockers down the field.

Players from the Red and White squads left their sidelines and followed him into the end zone to mob him and lift him on their shoulders after his 69-yard touchdown.

The crowd of 60,174 at Memorial Stadium cheered as Jack celebrated — a moment that left his father, Andy, misty-eyed on the sideline.

Asked what he was thinking when he ran onto the field, Jack said, "Scoring a touchdown."

And when he broke free and scored? "It felt awesome." And the crowd reaction? "Really awesome."

Football operations director Jeff Jamrog and fullback C.J. Zimmerer came up with the idea to get Jack involved in the spring game. Jamrog called the Hoffmans on Friday to tell them the Huskers had a special play planned for Jack.

Receivers coach Rich Fisher motioned Jack over on the sideline to show him the play he drew up. Andy said that's when it hit him that his son really would get his day in the sun at Memorial Stadium.

"It was a lot of emotions right at once," Andy said. "Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause."

Jack was diagnosed with cancer in April 2011 and has had two surgeries. He's now on a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy regimen.

Andy said Jack is "doing great" and that an MRI at Children's Hospital in Boston showed that the tumor has shrunk substantially in the past year.

"We're very optimistic for Jack," Andy said.

Burkhead, who is preparing for the NFL draft, said he got as much joy out of Jack's touchdown as he did for any of the ones he scored for the Huskers.

"Jack is a fighter, a strong kid," Burkhead said. "To see him run around and enjoy the Husker experience, it's a dream come true, especially for kids in the state of Nebraska. For Jack to get down here and do it, I know it made his day."

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • bridgerepair.jpg PennDOT seeks outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • GALLO_Natalie.jpg County native plays Clinton intern

    Natalie Gallo isn’t an intern, but she’s playing one on the New York stage.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage