PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – An Arnold football player is beginning his high school career two months into the season, all thanks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.

Arnold freshman Joshua De Marco has played football his entire life, but when he came to try-outs this fall, he ran into a bit of an obstacle.

“Two days before school, we came got the papers to get my physical,” De Marco said. “I was really happy to play you know, and then the first day of school we had practice I came and found out that none of the helmets fit me. And honest to God, I was actually kind of depressed because I just love football.”

De Marco still showed up to practice for a few weeks to learn the ins and outs of the game, before eventually giving up to try out a new sport.

“I thought maybe basketball,” De Marco said. “And when I tried out for basketball that did not work, I am not a basketball player, you never want to see me play basketball, it sucks.”

Over six weeks into the high school football regular season, just about all hope was lost when Arnold Athletic Director Rick Green approached De Marco with some exciting news.

A few strings had been pulled and two NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions, decided to send helmets large enough for him to play the game safely.

The Detroit Lions even went above and beyond, customizing a helmet with the Marlins logo on the side that arrived on Tuesday.

“They said, ‘We found you a bucket helmet, we got you a five-gallon bucket helmet from the Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions,’ and I was like ‘Oh that’s sick!’ My favorite team is the Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions, they’re also really good.”

For De Marco, getting on the field isn’t just about playing a game for fun, its also about improving his physical health.

He said that football is motivating him to exercise more and that he spends the majority of his free time in the gym.

“I’ve been going every day for two hours a day, even now that I’ve started football I’ve been going two hours a day every day,” De Marco said. “And, I’ve been putting in work to try and lose weight, and I have lost weight. I’m just going to have to keep grinding to the point where I don’t have to wear an NFL helmet you know.”

De Marco currently played on Arnold’s junior varsity team but plans to work his way up to the varsity roster.

His ultimate dream is to make it to the NFL, and if he does, he said he’ll never forget the first time he put on one of the league’s helmets.