Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera High School senior Kody Coushman was lauded during the Coyotes’ Oct. 18 matchup against the Bullard Knights after he scored a touchdown on the first unofficial play of the game.
When Madera High School held its homecoming on Oct. 7, chants of “Kody” echoed from the student section.
That love and support was part of an unforgettable night for Kody Coushman, a special needs student who heard the chants as he was crowned homecoming king.
Although he didn’t initially understand the meaning of homecoming, it didn’t take long for Coushman to feel the excitement.
“I don’t think he knew what it was at first. When he won, it was like Christmas all over again,” his mother, Marnee Coushman, said.
The news of Coushman’s nomination came suddenly for Marnee and overwhelmed her with joy.
“I found out that he was nominated for homecoming king from a friend through a text,” she said. “I was over the moon. I was so happy and excited.”
Coushman has been feeling the love at Madera High since coming to the school. Especially as part of the football team, the senior has been feeling right at home during the past four years.
“He wants to go to practice every day. He makes sure he doesn’t miss Friday night lights,” Marnee said. “He loves all the players.”
Coushman was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome as a baby, a condition which affects learning abilities. Still, Coushman hasn’t let the difficulties stop him from doing the things he enjoys, including joining the football team.
“Even though he is special needs, he just wants to be like them,” Marnee said. “They don’t treat him any different. It makes me cry almost every Friday.”
Although he normally helps the team from the sidelines, Coushman experienced a unique opportunity when the Coyotes hosted the Knights on Oct. 18. That’s when the senior took the handoff during the first unofficial play of the game and scampered to the end zone for a touchdown.
Again, he was met with cheers from the home crowd as he enjoyed his special moment and he was mobbed by his team in the end zone.
“It’s great to see them notice somebody like Kody in the community,” Marnee said. “The community is all for it.”
For the Coyotes’ football team, Coushman’s impact has always been felt by the players and coaching staff.
“It’s good for the players to see a player that says ‘hey I just wanna be like you,’ so they can get to know who the really Kody is,” Marnee said. “They have been amazing.”
Marnee sensed her son’s excitement all week as he prepared to run a play against the Knights.
“He is on the top of the mountain,” Marnee said before watching her son take the handoff. “I don’t think he is nervous. He is excited. He has been practicing all week.”
The game against Bullard also gave Coushman a chance to reunite with Bullard head coach Yosef Fares, who was Coushman’s first coach at Madera.
“They’re playing Bullard tonight and coach Fares is who he started with, so he gets to see him,” Marnee said.