PALERMO, NJ (CNN NEWSOURCE) – A young Pop Warner football player in New Jersey made his first-ever touchdown last weekend.
He’s a very special team member and his coach, as well as the opposing team, went out of their way to make the play happen.
Brantley Watson is a lot like most 7-year-olds.
He’s into football, playing outside, loves the avengers – he’s just a little different.
“He has cognitive delays. He’s the most sweetest, kind loving little boy,” Joelle LaRock, Brantley’s mom, said.
His disability doesn’t stop his love for his team and compete.
“Our head coach goes to every game and lets them know Brantley has a disability,” LaRock said.
A good coach is always looking for an edge but this past Saturday the coach from the opposing team decided on a different strategy.
“He asked this for the last play the game if we’d like to run Brantley, have Brantley run the ball. I was actually taken aback and a little choked up for a moment and then I absolutely agreed to it and I ran and got Brantley,” Aaron Shaffer said.
His mom watched as he took the handoff, not knowing he’d even be in on the play, let alone get the ball.
With both teams cheering and a little help with directions, all eyes were on Brantley as he made his way down the sideline.
His teammates surrounding him, even teammates running with him not in the game as he made his way towards the goal line.
Number one, he found his way into the end zone for the first time and after a big hug from coach, he found his mom.
“It makes me cry every time I watch it. And watch him run into my arms and see how happy and excited he was. You just don’t see that as much nowadays as you should,” LaRock said.
Brantley summed up how his first score made him feel pretty simply.
“Happy. She watched me the whole time,” Brantley said.
She did and it’s a memory LaRock won’t ever forget.