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Dream come true for 60-year-old college football player

November 9, 1997

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) _ A few seconds of football was a fountain of youth for 60-year-old Edgard Barreto.

The grandfather from Naples, Fla., has been practicing with the Ashland University Eagles since August. He’s certain that he’s the oldest person to play in a college football game.

A week ago, he got to play defensive end for a few seconds. On Saturday, he watched his Eagles win the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference championship.

``It was worth everything,″ Barreto said. ``If some rich guy wanted to buy that, you couldn’t buy that.″

Barreto is the first to admit that he is the slowest and weakest link on the 108-man roster. But he makes up for it in heart.

On the sideline in Saturday’s championship game, Barreto watched every down, cheered every play and knocked helmets with his teammates after key plays.

He also had a surprise for his teammates after the victory _ 125 bottles of sparkling grape juice.

When the Eagles were behind at halftime, Barreto cussed. He yelled at officials for bad calls and stomped the ground. In the third quarter, the Eagles took the lead, and Barreto never stopped smiling.

Even though Ashland defeated Indianapolis 15-7, the game was too close for him to play on Saturday.

But when he played a week ago, the fans chanted his name. He came in for one play with less than one minute to go. Barreto said it was his greatest moment on the team.

Barreto, who has completed more than 200 marathons, played for his alma mater 39 years after last taking the field. He was able to play with the Eagles again because he still had two semesters of NCAA eligibility left.

The season is now over for Barreto. He will continue his graduate studies until the end of the semester, then return to his Florida home.

``I’ll never forget the guys and the chemistry we had,″ he said.

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