Hours after defeating Hawai'i 28-14 on Saturday night, members of the Rice Owls football team were back on their home stadium turn on Sunday afternoon to host the members of the Challenger Football League in their seventh annual game at Rice Stadium on Sunday.
Challenger athletes are mentally or physically challenged youth, 5 - 18 years of age. Through a long list of parent volunteers and high school and college "buddies", the youth get the opportunity to experience the emotional development and the fun of participating in a sport. The members of the Owls serve as buddies alongside the Challenger athletes during their annual game at Rice Stadium.
"It gets better every year," senior safety and Wuerffel Trophy candidate Gabe Baker said. "It's a privilege to be out here. Honestly, it puts things in perspective for you in terms of the opportunity you have to play football as a Division I football. We're so privileged to be doing what we are doing and put smiles on these great kids' faces. "
Running back Darik Dillard was back for his third consecutive Challenger game despite having posted career highs in carries (23) and yards (141) while scoring twice in the win over Hawai'i on Saturday night.
"I was a little sore this morning, but there was no way I was going to miss being out here," Dillard said. "It was an awesome experience to have a great win and then be able to come out here and share some of that joy with the kids out here."