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They are just numbers: 31 catches, 475 yards, four touchdowns.
Those are the 2009 senior high school football statistics at Kalamazoo Central (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
for Phillip Blanks
, who today is being hailed as a hero.
Blanks was captured on tape making a miraculous catch of a 3-year-old boy thrown from a burning three-story apartment on July 3, a blaze that claimed the life of the child's mother.
According to a Washington Post
story, Blanks was at a friend's house at the Phoenix apartment complex when he heard screaming.
The 28-year-old retired Marine, ran toward the house as the boy's mother dropped her son off the balcony. Blanks sprinted and dived head first to catch the child, named Jameson, inches from the ground, a dramatic scene caught on cell phone video.
He immediately turned and raced to a nearby ambulance, first wrapping the boy in a blanket. Jameson, along with his older sister, saved after D'Artagnan Alexander entered the burning building to grab the girl, are in serious but non-life threatening condition, according to media reports.
The children's mother, Rachel Long, 30, died at the scene, never making it from the blaze. It took 100 firefighters to extinguish eight apartment buildings destroyed in the fire.
Blanks, now working as a security guard, is being recognized as a hero, as is Alexander. The two strangers immediately bonded, according to media accounts, and met up with the children's father, Corey Long, who was at work at the time of the incident.
Blanks said he used both his Marine and football training to jump into action. He admitted to never making a better or more important catch.
"I immediately got tunnel vision of the baby and somehow managed to catch him," Blanks told the Post. "Saving this child changed my entire perspective. It made me realize how short life is, and how we need to protect each other and treat people better."
Blanks was a very good football player at Kalamazoo Central. Besides displaying good hands on the gridiron, the then 5-foot-9, 180-pound receiver and linebacker also had 52 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries his senior season when the Maroon Giants went 4-5.
Not only a good player, Blanks was evidently a leader on the team. He was picked as one of five co-captains on the squad.
He later played football at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo (Calif.).