caught two touchdown passes recently as Breckinridge County (Harned, Ky.)
defeated Adair County (Columbia, Ky.), 20-6, during its annual homecoming football game.
The number of touchdown catches isn’t unusual, but Chance Anthony is – he was born with just one arm.
"My first touchdown ever, I got a huge relief," Anthony said of his 26-yard score near the end of the first quarter. "I jumped, kind of tipped it away from the defender, got control and brought it down (with one hand). The stands were packed and everybody went crazy. It was one of those times in your life that you won't forget."
Starting at split end for the third year, Anthony notched his second career touchdown, an 18-yarder in the corner of the end zone, during the second half.
“It hit me right in the gut,” he said.
“I didn’t consider it a handicap,” he stressed. “I just had to find ways to get around it.”
The 5-foot-10, 157-pound senior is the Fighting Tigers’ leading receiver after eight games with modest totals of 13 catches for 204 yards and two touchdowns. They are, however, basically a running team.
Anthony also is an excellent blocker and rarely comes off the field because he starts at linebacker and plays on special teams. He has 12 solo tackles, three tackles for losses, three assists and one safety.
Chancellor Lee Anthony was born without the lower half of his right arm.
His mother, Deborah Anthony, recalled her doctor saying,“'You have an almost perfect child.' It took a while to sink in and get adjusted. The pediatrician told us, 'You’ll miss it (the arm) more than him.' It just took a lot of patience and determination. He didn’t ask for much help."
When he was 3 years old, he liked to pick things off the shelf at grocery stories. His mother would quickly tell him to put them back. This prompted a woman to say, "Sometimes they just have too many hands." Then she noticed the little guy only had one hand.
"You could have scraped her off the floor," Deborah said of the woman’s embarrassment.
Deborah said the hardest thing she saw Chance attempt was to ride a trail bike, because the controls were on the wrong side of the handlebars.
Chance said his biggest challenge was learning to tie his shoes.
“It was one of those things I never could figure out,” he confessed. "It came to the point that one day (in third grade) I had to figure it out, because I got tired of Velcro shoes.”
Having a prosthetic arm as a youngster proved a way to make friends, he revealed, because other kids always wanted to touch it. Practically from birth, he has displayed a good sense of humor about the prosthetic, calling it at one time or another “Wormy, Nub and Nubby,” with the latter his most popular choice.
As he has gotten older he has relied less and less on his artificial limb. He did need it while playing trombone in the middle school band and also relies on it when he enters rifle shooting contests.
He is an outstanding shooter, having won the 4H state championship .22 rifle competition last year for ages 15-18. This year he was third with an air rifle and fourth with a .22 rifle because he spent most of his time on football workouts.
“I still love to shoot,” Chance stressed. “I never missed a deer (he has bagged a pair). I’ve shot three turkeys, some squirrels, rabbits and a ground hog.”
Chance’s first sport was soccer and he has played basketball since he was in fifth grade.
"Basketball really got me into football,” he pointed out. "My basketball coach (in seventh grade, who also coached football) told me, 'As much as you like to foul and be aggressive, you ought to try football.’ In eighth grade I got out there and loved it.”
Deborah’s first thoughts about her son playing football were: "I just hope he doesn’t drop it. But I see receivers who have two hands and they drop it every day, so I’m not going to worry about it. Over the years, we have learned that he can do whatever he wants to do."
When Chance was a freshman, he started out bench-pressing 45 pounds. By the end of that year he reached an even 200 pounds. Today he is at an impressive 235 pounds.
The first time coach Scott Mooney saw Chance on the bench press, he yelled at him for not doing it safely.
After he realized Chance had only one arm, he admitted, "I felt terrible. Then I just spent the rest of the whole workout watching him. He holds one side of the bar up with his nub and the other arm just goes up and down.
“He’s in very good shape, very athletic and a well-defined young man. He has a great attitude and quick feet. He runs a 4.9-second 40-yard dash, but we don’t have any fast kids on our team.”
Chance’s only mishap with weights came when he reached 135 pounds. The weight slipped off the bar and hit him in the chest. He said it scared him more than anything.
When Chance was a sophomore, Mooney made him and Josh Selvidge automatic starters because of their attitude and great work ethic. He said he was battling a losing attitude that forced the Fighting Tigers to go through a five-year period with only one victory – a forfeit. Last year they won three times and this year they are 1-7.
How does Chance lead the team in receptions?
“He’ll cradle it into his body with his good arm and he’ll bring his nub arm to brace the ball,” Mooney explained. “He has caught a couple with one hand. He really catches balls because he has the desire.
“I had my doubts,” Mooney admitted about Chance’s catching ability as a sophomore. “The first time I saw him catch a ball was in a scrimmage against Butler County (Morgantown, Ky.). I was hoping the quarterback would choose the other side, but he chose to throw to Chance and Chance caught it. I learned then not to doubt him.
“When you see him do it, that’s a good feeling you get that doesn’t go away. I just never get tired of seeing him do something.”
Chance lives on a 20-acre farm and is vice president of the Future Farmers of America. He also belongs to the Kentucky State Police Explorers and is a strong candidate for the second annual High School Football Rudy Award, which includes a $10,000 scholarship.
More on the Rudy Awards
He carries a 3.6 GPA and plans to study law enforcement next year at Eastern Kentucky University. His dream is to become a Kentucky state trooper. His idol is his father, Bruce Anthony, who is a chief deputy sheriff.
He has been encouraged by other policemen to pursue his dream despite his handicap. He knows there are many facets to his chosen field, but wants to work on the highway.
Chance says philosophically, “When I get there, there will be a bridge that I will have to cross.”
Mooney added, “I don’t know (what direction his job will take him), but I do know his future is bright.”