HOUSTON - Peace officers crowded a junior varsity eighth-grade football stadium to support a kid close to their hearts.
The child’s father was a Houston police officer killed in the line of duty.
Before Tyler Martin got off his team’s bus, anticipation for his first snap lured a crowd.
“I’m very nervous for him,” said Cynthia Martin, Tyler’s sister. “He’s my little brother.”
Three dozen officers filed into Mayde Creek High School bleachers to see it. Helicopters from HPD, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety hovered as long as they could.
Behind the south end zone, Mayde Creek’s varsity squad sat on the turf unable to leave until it happened.
Even Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick cleared his schedule to see the game.
“Tyler’s important,” Lt. Gov. Patrick said. “That’s the key. It wouldn’t matter if it was a band recital. We would be here.”
They filled in for a football fanatic who never got to see his son play.
Houston police Officer Richard Martin died while doing his job 16 months ago. As he laid spikes to end a car chase, the father of two was hit and killed by a suspect’s car.
Ever since, officers who knew Martin and many more who did not consider Tyler their son to look after. So when football schedules came out, Tyler’s new family spread word to fill the stands with blue uniforms.
“I’m missing some of my kids events tonight for this,” said Captain Paul Follis of the Houston Police Department. “So it would take a great deal for me not to be here.”
As fate would have it, Tyler led West Memorial on a 98-yard drive and scored the team’s only touchdown. He almost led a game-winning drive.
Despite the loss, no heads hung.
“(Tyler) hasn’t just inspired his teammates. He inspired a whole coaching staff and school,” said West Memorial Junior High School coach Chuck Dycus.
The team posed for photos and smiled with their quarterback. They know how much support means to him.
“It just feels good to know that people love me,” Tyler said.
(© 2016 KHOU)