Usually kids start playing youth football in first or second grade. Colton Elmore got to play in kindergarten because his older brother, Trenton, was playing, and he wanted to play too. Colton made his first touchdown that season.
"It was 46 yards," his coach Lonnie Vargas said. "He ran a sweep. I knew right then, for his being that young, he was a special kid. He’s going to go far."
When Colton was in second grade, coaches started keeping track of his stats. Colton, now 11 and in fifth grade, knew he had to be approaching his 100th touchdown. About five seconds before kickoff at a youth football game in Worden Park last weekend, he asked his coach, Brandon Lambert how many touchdowns he made. Coach Lambert told him, "Don’t worry about it."
Colton said later, "I asked my coach and he wouldn’t tell me and I got kind of mad at that."
"I didn’t want him to get distracted," Lambert said.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the game, Colton, a quarterback, made his first touchdown of three in the game. It was his 100th touchdown. Lambert took the ball Colton had brought to the end zone and had all the other players secretly sign it when Colton wasn’t looking.
After the game, in which the Dukes beat the Wichita West Side Eagles 25-0, Colton, team quarterback, was presented with the game ball, signed by all his teammates. Neither Colton, nor his family had known what was coming.
"He got choked up," Colton’s mother, Jaime Elmore said. "He got emotional. It was the first time I’ve ever seen him cry tears of joy."
Colton shook hands with everyone on his team and thanked them for helping him achieve this milestone.
"He has some very talented boys who block for him and allow him to go into the end zone," Jaime Elmore said. "They’re a very good team."
Vargas said he was sure Colton would make that 100th touchdown.
"He has a knack for getting the ball in the end zone whether it’s a run or making a pass," Vargas said. "All ways and shapes you can score, he’s done it."
Jaime Elmore said her sons and their cousins have football in their blood. Colton’s great-uncle, Jeff Davis, was going to play for the Kansas City Chiefs, but was sidelined by injury.
On Sundays when they went for dinner at her mother’s house, Jaime Elmore’s nephew, Connor Burnett, would lead his younger cousins in football games outside.
"I think that’s how my boys got into football - the Sunday dinners and backyard football," she said.
Colton would play football all year if he could, his mother said. He wants to play college and NFL football.
"In college, I wanna play for the OU Sooners," he said. "In the NFL, I really don’t care.
For now, Colton’s signed game football rests where he placed it - on a shelf in his room.