Players and coaches on the Brockport High School football team like to call themselves “grinders,” people who are not afraid of hard work to get a job done.
The Blue Devils had a pretty tough guest on their sideline during their homecoming game Friday night: 16-year-old Jake Noyes.
Jake, a resident of Chili with Down syndrome, was Brockport’s honorary captain. His name was announced to the large crowd as he went out to midfield in a No. 55 jersey with the team captains.
“Jake is still talking about it,” said Kerri Milner Noyes, his mother. “They embraced him and made his night. The whole experience was phenomenal.”
A few people in the bleachers and along the fence around the field embraced Jake this summer as he fought for his life.
According to his mother, Jake went into Golisano Children’s Hospital July 13 because of complications and infections in his intestines. Emergency surgery was needed on Aug. 6, as Jake went into septic shock, was unresponsive and had a temperature of 104 degrees, Kerri Milner Noyes said.
“(Doctors) weren’t very optimistic he was going to survive,” she said.
Jake was discharged Aug. 26, after 45 days in the hospital. Steve and Kerri Milner Noyes, Jake’s parents, are Brockport High School graduates and have a few tight ties in that community. A mutual friend of the family and Brockport football coach Scott Nugent wondered if it would be OK if Jake, a junior at School of the Holy Childhood in Henrietta, could stand on the sidelines with the Blue Devils during a game.
“He’s definitely one of the miracle children,” Kerri Milner Noyes said. “He has a love of life and is just resilient. He’s probably the biggest fighter I’ve ever met in my life.
“He appreciates everything, it’s the little things. I wish all of us were like that.”