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7's HERO: Nathanael's Big Shot

Something really special happened at a recent middle school basketball game between Vale and Vision Charter School. Player Nathanael Rozsa had the game of his life!

CALDWELL, Idaho — 14-year-old Nathanael Rozsa goes to Vision Charter School in Caldwell. He's in the eighth grade. He loves school, his friends, singing in the choir, and he has Down syndrome.

"He's always smiling, always got a friend with him, he doesn't let anything hold him back at all," Vision Charter School teacher and coach Jamie Warr said. "He's just like any other kid." 

He's also a proud member of the middle school basketball team

"Ever since he joined basketball, we've been cheering him on. He's been doing so well," Nathanael's good friend and teammate Christian Clement said. 

You could say Nathanael is a pretty popular guy at Vision Charter, especially on the hardwood.

"Oh his energy is insane, I mean, seriously," fellow teammate and friend Sawyer Walo said. "He's such a cool kid." 

Nathanael and his family moved to Idaho from Hawaii two years ago, and he was nervous about starting a new school. But, those nerves quickly faded. He is surrounded by people who love him.  

"It's been great, really great here in Idaho and I love it." Nathanael said. "It's really fun being on the team with all my friends." 

A KTVB crew visited him and his team at a recent practice, because something really special happened at a game against the Vale Middle School Vikings. 

"I feel famous," Nathanael told KTVB's Maggie O'Mara. "This is really fun!" 

It was the end of the game, Vale was winning, and with 40 seconds left, the Vale players and the crowd starting chanting for Nathanael to go in. 

"They had been chanting Nathanael's number which is 42," coach Heather Myers said. "Forty two, forty two! Put him in, put him in! So, we put him back in and they just turned off the clock and then kept passing the ball to him so he could make a shot, both teams! They let Nathanael just repeatedly shoot, over and over again. It was truly spectacular."

Thirty-four tries later, Nathanael finally sunk it in. The players and some of the crowd came running onto the court to congratulate him. The atmosphere was electric. 

"They all came running! It was like an NBA finals game! The entire stands were flooding Nathaniel, you couldn't even find him, he was in the middle of all these kids," Myers said.

Nathanael was over the moon. 

"I finally made that shot and I really did it," Nathanael said. "It was like a moment right there in my life. The whole team, my best friends, even Vale came all around me! It felt really good!" 

Nathanael exchanged hugs and high fives with the Vale players, and snapped photos with his new fans. 

"Everyone in that gym was moved, I don't know how you couldn't have been and I will never forget it," Coach Myers said. Our players will never forget it. We were forever touched, forever changed by that moment." 

Teammate Sawyer Walo was so impressed with Vale. 

"Oh it made me so happy, I was on the verge of tears! No other team has done that for him, I went up to them and said you guys are the greatest, that was perfect," Walo said, with a huge smile. 

Nathanael says he felt like a star, but he is also so humble.

"There is no I in team, this is no one man show, we are a team," he said beaming with pride. 

He says he will always remember that special night, and the Vale Middle School basketball team. 

"I will, forever," he said. 

His teammates and coaches won't forget it, either. 

"It was absolutely incredible, those Vale kids didn't know Nathanael, they didn't know he was going to be there. It was just in the moment, this is what they did. It was just their natural instinct to be incredible human beings," Coach Myers said. "It was beautiful and I'm so grateful."

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