It wouldn’t be a Mason High School football game without Nate Petrey on the sidelines. The assistant football coach for the Ohio school has a very important role: Keep everyone positive, no matter what the score is.

And, it’s a job he doesn’t take lightly. Petrey, who has Down syndrome, lights up the team with something far more valuable than a clipboard or motivational talk.

“[He] brings a positive energy everyday,” senior Chase Evans told WCPO. “He’s always coming in happy, smiling, and it gets everyone excited and everyone happy.”

Petrey’s passion for the Comets runs deep. He suited up for the football team when he attended the school. So, when head coach Brian Castner asked him to join the squad on the sidelines, he couldn’t refuse the offer.

It’s a “hire” Castner is most proud of.

“When he walks into the locker room or when he walks into the coaches office, the coaches perk up and they’re like, ‘All right, Nate Dog’s here! Coach Petrey’s here!’ And automatically he’s making us better,” Castner said.

Petrey would like to serve as a coach in some capacity for his entire life. And if Castner, who met him 18 years ago, has anything to do with it, he’ll certainly make sure Petrey is by his side not only on the gridiron, but off, too.

‘’He makes me a better person,” Castner said. “I think a lot of things in life happen for a reason – not everything, but a lot of things. Him in my life and me in his life … it happened for a reason.”

At the time of this writing, the Mason Comets hold a 3-1 record on the 2018 season. More than winning games, however, the team operates as a family, and Petrey feels every ounce of that.

“I’m like a big brother to them.”

And in that role, Petrey is someone every player can look up to.