Peyton Manning playing his former team makes for a compelling game, but here in the Tristate a special play for a special player, makes for a compelling moment. It's one of those cases that reminds us of what sportsmanship is all about.
It's the first time, Ian Medcalf, has ever played on a team. On the last day of the season, some of his teammates decided to send him off with a surprise, and it's all caught on his mother's phone.
It's the last game of the season, the Junior Football League players line up on the field, the play begins, and suddenly an unexpected player gets the ball. "No one can catch me," says eleven year old, Ian Medcalf. He rushes down the field, followed by his team, his opponents, and he scores his very first touchdown. "As he was running the crowd just got louder and louder, and it just became an important moment for the Junior Football League and Ian," says Assistant Coach, Phil Martin.
It's a victory for his team, and it's a victory against Ian's opponent off the field. "He is on the autism spectrum," says his mom, Misty Medcalf. She says it's her son's first time to be part of a team, and really, his first time to be a part of anything. "He has really came out. He's been a part of something. It's being seen everywhere. His teachers at school have been like, something is happening with this kid," says Misty. "It was amazing to see him grow the way he did, it was pretty special all year long," says Head Coach 'Hot Dog' Dardeen.
While Ian's coaches were quick to notice his improvement, the idea to let him score didn't come from the coaches box, it cam from his teammates. "To see all the kids come together for one common goal, it wasn't about winning, it was about doing the right thing," says Dardeen.
While the play was a part of the game plan, they kept it a surprise until half time. "At first he didn't know what was going on, and we didn't let him know about it. He came out and was like, am I going to get tackled," says Martin. "They were like, hey, this is going to happen and you might want to watch. I turned my camera phone on and it was great," says Misty. After a little end-zone celebration, this defensive end decided to go out on top. "He was like 'coach, I did it, I did it,' then he came back to the sidelines and goes, 'i'm tired can I sit down?" "I'm just so proud of this small town, and making him feel special."
Ian's big touchdown had both sides of the field cheering Saturday afternoon. His mother Misty says he is already looking forward to next season.