Bigger than football; Noah Sharplin finds home at Oak Grove

OAK GROVE, La - At two and a half years old, doctors believed that Noah Sharplin would never be able to talk.

Now over 12 years later, he'll talk to anyone, especially about Oak Grove football.

Noah was born with a form of autism and didn't develop the ability to talk until he was nearly three. His parents decided that in raising him they would try any type of treatment, as long as it didn't hurt him, to help him overcome his limitations. They quickly found that nothing helped him the way that football did. He found his passion on the grid iron and quickly grew a love for the Tigers. 

Noah began watching old games for Oak Grove on the internet, quickly learning the names and stats of some of the programs best players. Now, he is able to pull those figures from memory and his knowledge of the program is only growing. As his love for the team grew, he decided to start commentating games on Facebook live and quickly showed a talent for it. One day at church, Noah decided that he was going to pray for the Tigers, and that's what began an idea for the team.

The pastor of the church was Michael Mote, who also happened to be the Tigers offensive coordinator. He approached the Tigers head coach Ryan Gregory and suggested that they find a way to have him be involved with the team.

They could've just had him come out on the field and take a picture. They could've done something small. But that wasn't what Oak Grove football is about.

The team decided to present him with a team jersey, make him an honorary captain, and have him lead the team out onto the field. After doing the coin flip, he ran off the field and was embraced his new teammates. The memory was one that he will never forget. But the experience meant the most to his family who got to see their son with with a group that use to be his heroes; whom had now become his friends.


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