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Fourcade Family MVP

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Some people were just born to play football. Archbishop Rummel quarterback Chase Fourcade is one of those people.

"Staring when I was like 6, I always wanted to play football," Fourcade said.

The game runs deep in the Fourcade family. His father Keith was a standout linebacker at Archbishop Shaw and at Ole Miss. He even briefly played for the Saints in 1987. His uncle John played quarterback at Shaw, then at Ole Miss, and professionally for the Saints from 1987-1991.

"I see a kid that's going to be a heck of a football player," John said of his nephew. "People ask me all the time, 'what about you when you were his age?' Man, he is so much better than me at that age."

While his father and uncle provided Chase with the genetics to be successful, their legacy isn't what inspires him most on the field. That's honor belongs to his older brother, Taylor.

"When Taylor was born, we knew within16 months that there were things he wasn't going to be able to do," Keith said of his eldest son.

He said the family had to face some harsh realities.

"When he was 8 or 9 years old, he asked me, 'will I ever walk?' And I was waiting for that moment, but when it came to me I almost passed out. I can feel myself getting flushed. He asked me and I said, 'probably not. But just remember this: God made you special. There's things you can do that other people can't."

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Taylor faced many challenges. He and his family realized he wouldn't follow the traditional Fourcade route to the playing field. So he would blaze his own path to join the family's legacy.

"Football is my passion. I've been brought up with the game with my uncle and my dad,” Taylor said. “So we always talk football. I love talking about the game, I love learning about the game."

That education? Years in the making. The practices, the games, taking it all in. That experience finally got Taylor in the game. Last year at Rummel, head coach Jay Roth asked him to join his staff as an offensive line assistant.

"I couldn't thank Coach Roth more," Taylor said. "He gave me the opportunity to do what I love and get the experience."

"In Taylor's situation, when you look at him in the wheelchair, your natural reaction is to feel sorry for him. That's something we've never done as parents," Keith said. "That's something Taylor doesn't want. All he wanted was a chance."

So “Coach T,” as he is known, is at every practice, every meeting, always on time.

"He's like one of us," Roth said of his assistant. "Nobody even knows he is in a wheelchair. He's darting in and out, we are moving around him, and he knows where to be on the field. He is very knowledgeable about football."

His condition forced him into a wheelchair. With weakness in his left hand, he needs assistance with things like cutting steaks and opening water bottles. It's not always easy, but you will never see him sulk in self-pity. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. His endless positivity is contagious.

"It's not just another challenge. I love challenges. I don't let this wheelchair get in my way. I'm just another person. I would never stop this and let it get in my way because this is what I love to do," Taylor said.

"Little by little, he just grows on you," said his mother, Jill Fourcade, a breast cancer survivor herself. "He truly is the rock of this whole thing. You talk to our friends, our immediate family, he is the glue."

And where Taylor's physical abilities stop, they pick back up through Chase. As a three-year starter at quarterback and state champion, his motivation is crystal clear.

"I'm playing for him," Chase said of his older brother. "He is the reason why I play football."

"I told him years ago, you have to have a meaning to play football," Keith recalled. "He goes, ‘now I know why I'm playing football. I'm playing football because of my brother.' I almost, a big tear dropped on my phone, floored me. He understands. So that made me realize, you know what, he's not a burden. He's proud of his brother."

"We couldn't have planned for them to be together," Jill said of her sons. "It was just meant to be."

"I'm living my dream through him and it's been a good ride so far and I can't wait to keep riding it," Taylor said.

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