ALPINE, Texas (AP) -Mike Flynt waited 37 years to get back on a college football field. Once he did, he was part of his team's winning play.
Playing left end on kicking plays, the 59-year-old grandfather held his own all night, most importantly during the field goal that gave Sul Ross State a 45-42 victory over Texas Lutheran in three overtimes Saturday night.
With his wife, three kids, grandson and a legion of new fans watching, Flynt kept his defender from getting into the backfield, then turned, jumped and pumped his fist. He quickly wound up lost in a teamwide pile celebrating their second straight win in extra periods.
``I'm so happy for my teammates; they're the ones who won the game,'' Flynt said. ``I've been at a lot of great schools and experienced a lot of this stuff. These guys, they're learning every bit of this.''
Flynt might be an AARP member and only six years from Medicare, but he's in good enough shape to butt heads with kids one-third his age - or, about the same age as his youngest daughter.
While he's giving new meaning to being a college ``senior,'' he's not the oldest player ever. There was a 60-year-old for Ashland (Ohio) in 1997, but that guy went in for one snap late in a blowout. Flynt is truly part of his Division III team, with expectations to eventually get in at his old position, linebacker. The Lobos have four games left and he expects to play in them all.
Flynt got in for nine snaps, including one waived off by penalty. He stood up his rusher several times and got in a nice chip block once. Out of respect or admiration, opposing coach Dennis Parker never tried taking advantage of the old man. Yes, Flynt is two years older than Parker and eight years older than his own coach.
Afterward, Flynt went to the player he blocked most of the night to shake his hand.
``I just told him he played a great game,'' Flynt said. ``He was always talking, always coming hard. I appreciate that.''
Most importantly, Flynt came out of it feeling fine. The groin injury and pinched nerve that sidelined him the first five weeks, and limited him to special teams this time, weren't a problem.
Then again, with all the adrenaline surging, he probably wouldn't have felt anything anyway.
``I've enjoyed every bit of this,'' he said. ``Stepping out on the field was kind of the exclamation point on this. ... We're going to enjoy this. We'll be back tomorrow night, get the soreness out and we'll try to run the table.''
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