By: Colten Bishop—(grade 10)—
Most players run out on the field, but Dominick Cornelius has his own ride at only twelve! On the evening of September 13, 2019, the Tussey Mountain football team’s honorary captain made his first appearance at the beginning of the annual backyard brawl against Northern Bedford High School. Junior High Assistant Coach Tank Ritchey suggested to Head Varsity Football Coach Anthony Sottasante acknowledging sixth grader Dominick “ Hammie” Cornelius as an honorary captain for the 2019-2020 school year. “I thought [the idea] was awesome,” said Sottasante, “Anytime you can give back to the community or lift someone’s spirits, it’s important to do so.”
It was mutually agreed upon by all the head captains of the varsity football team that Hammie would be voted as the full-time honorary captain for home games. Typically, the team recognizes honorary captains weekly instead of the full season. “We all saw how excited Hammie was to come out with us,” said senior quarterback Matthew Leonard, “so we thought he would be happy to come out for the coin toss”
“He loves all the noise and all the action that goes on,” said Hammie’s mother, Andrea Cornelius. “As soon as he sees the games starting, he starts kicking and clapping with excitement.” During the game, Hammie has a sideline view of the action.
Communicating with Hammie requires showing him images to which he reacts. When asked what he liked about being a captain, Hammie was able to communicate, “I like being out on the field.” While Hammie enjoys all sports, ironically, his favorite sport is baseball.