By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lakeville North quarterback Zach Creighton enjoyed plenty of long runs during the Prep Bowl season. But while he enjoys football, he also loves spending time with one of his biggest fans.

Zach first met Sam Amundson after an early season practice last year. Sam is a special needs student at Lakeville North. He was born premature, had meningitis twice and had other health complications during his first year.

“I saw Sam, and I instantly took a liking to him,” Zach said. “I wanted to get closer to him and have him get closer to our team as well.”

He added: “He’s a kid just like us, and we wanted to take him in and have him be a part of our team; and he really was big part of our team.”

Zach means it.

As a team member, Sam stood on the sidelines during the regular season and through the Panthers’ Prep Bowl run. But it didn’t end there. Zach and his teammates have cheered Sam on at his adaptive soccer games. They also shoot hoops together. And for Sam’s birthday, Zach gave him his sophomore football jersey.

“It’s just truly from the heart, and I’ve never seen anything like it to be honest,” said Sam’s dad, Terrie.

After moving from another school, Terrie is convinced his son has found a home at Lakeville North — a school where the star quarterback knows there’s more to life than winning.

And while the clock will eventually run out on their time together, the friendship will last a lifetime.

“The thing I do know is that we have found a home here in Lakeville,” Terrie said. “And he’s going to be supported, I’m quite convinced, for the rest of his life. And as a father, I can’t tell you what that means.”

Zach will graduate this spring, but he promises to come back and visit Sam when he’s home from college.


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