Robby Heil, a senior with Down syndrome, has been helping out Novi High School’s team in Detroit as their “hydration manager” for four years in his no. 24 jersey.
Novi head coach Jeff Burnside teamed up with the head coach of their opposing team on Friday night, South Lyon East’s Joe Pesci, to organise a special event for him.
“This is something that we thought we could do to bring some joy, hopefully some outstanding memories,” Burnside told local media.
With just under 11 minutes to go in the second quarter of the game, the timer stopped but the players remained on the field.
Robby entered the game, got the handoff, and scored a touchdown from a 36-yard run, surrounded by players from both teams.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.
“I practiced that play, practiced it a lot. Coach Burnside said I was doing a good job and surprised me [with the news I was playing].”
Mother Debbie Heil, who is battling advanced-stage cancer, has been one of the team’s photographers for the past four years to keep an eye on Robby.
Ms Heil said the team had played a big part in helping get Robby to practice while she was at chemo.
“It takes a village to raise my son and this village has really been outstanding,” she said.
“I’ve always been proud of him being the water boy … but this was incredible.”
Mr Pesci presented Robby with an autographed jersey from South Lyon East after the touchdown.
“This is way more important than football. Way more important,” he said.