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Unable to play, Mustang found other ways to help
Aaric Blaske
Aaric Blaske - photo by Photo submitted
We really appreciate him being out there all the time and helping out. He is extremely smart. He has a 31 on his ACT. He is very, very loyal.
South Effingham head coach Nathan Clark

 GUYTON — Aaric Blaske was an all-star performer for the South Effingham High School football team. 

The senior made perennial contributions for the Mustangs even though he never scored a touchdown, threw a block or logged a tackle. His help came by collecting more than $20,000 for South Effingham’s booster club.

“He’s been a relentless Mustang from start to finish,” said Jeff Shielke, booster club president. during South Effingham's Jan. 13 football awards banquet.

Blaske started collecting funds for the Mustangs when he was in middle school. He got the money by selling doughnuts, raffle tickets and more.

“I washed a few cars, too,” he said.

Blaske collected some of the money by participating in South Effingham’s annual lift-a-thon. Donors unaware of his strength ended up giving more than they expected because he was paid by the number of pounds he could move.

“He was cleaning up,” said Blaske’s father, Andrew. “I warned them.”

Blaske has been associated with Mustangs football since he was in the fifth grade. He started as a water boy and dreamed of suiting up one day but his aspirations were dashed by multiple spinal surgeries.

“I had severe scoliosis that got progressively worse after a car wreck,” Blaske said.

Despite his condition, Blaske was afforded the chance to don a uniform for one play during South Effingham Middle School’s final game of his seventh-grade year. He followed the lead block of his older brother, Austin, as the opposing team stepped aside so that he could score.

“It was hard not being able to play at first,” Blaske recalled. “I didn’t want to accept it.”

A clip of the memorable play was shown during South Effingham’s annual football awards banquet Jan. 13. It drew cheers and claps from the audience.

“Seeing Arric run a touchdown on the field and fulfilling his childhood dream was a touching moment for him and everyone involved,” Schielke said.

Schielke then presented Blaske the Distinguished Service Award “for going above and beyond.”

“That’s pretty impressive there,” Mustangs head coach Nathan Clark said. “It couldn’t happen to a better boy.”

Early in his high school career, Blaske served the Mustangs as an equipment manager and by filming games. In each of the past two years, he has assisted South Effingham athletic trainer Autumn Parsons, who works for Optim Healthcare.

“I want to be a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon,” Blaske said.

Clark is confident Blaske can reach his goal. He owns a 4.0 grade point average.

“... We really appreciate him being out there all the time and helping out,” Clark said as Blaske accepted a framed Mustangs jersey with his name and No. 1 on it. “He is extremely smart. He has a 31 on his ACT. 

“He is very, very loyal.”

Blaske was rewarded for his loyalty by much more than an award and a jersey.

“I’ve made so many friends,” he said.