CAMILLUS, N.Y. - They call him "the Eliminator," real name: Nathan Fricano. He's one of the newest recruits of the CNY Stars, and Sunday, he came to play football.
"Today, I got...three tackles, two touchdowns, and a good kick," said Fricano, 11.
Nathan loves sports, but having cerebral palsy meant some activities were off limits.
"Nate just can't keep up with the speed that the kids run at, so he'll go watch," said Nathan's mother, Michele Fricano. "So this is good to have something for him that he can do and be successful."
The Stars are part of CNY Pop Warner's Challenger football program. It gives kids with special needs a chance they might not otherwise have: to play as part of a team.
"We have autistic children, MS children, learning disabilities, whatever it is, whatever it takes, we're out here, we're going to learn," said Coach John Cometti.
Coach Cometti says the program began four years ago with five players. Now, up to 30 kids show up to play on any given weekend.
In that time, he's seen their skills improve on the field -- and off.
"We have several children that are now kicking the ball from their wheelchairs. They bring the balls home and use them for therapy," said Cometti.
Despite the benefits, Challenger football isn't widely available in CNY. Families come from as far away as Morrisville to play for the Stars, but Coach Cometti says the popularity the program's gained at West Genesee means that may be about to change.
"West Genesee will probably have their own team next year," said Cometti. "Then myself and a couple other coaches will move on...but our goal would be in the future to have Cicero have a team, Baldwinsville will have a team."
For now, it's just the Stars -- practicing through the rain for the love of the game.
"The rain's not a factor. Rain or shine, we'll always get out there and have fun," said player Michael Scholz, 16.
The Challenger Program is holding a recruiting event next Saturday at 10 AM. That's taking place at the West Genesee Athletic Club fields in Camillus.
Organizers also say they're always looking for local high school teams to work with the kids and other volunteers to help referee the games.
Click here for more information