Player with special needs scores TD on season's final play in California

They may not have won on the scoreboard, but the East Union football team was still the ultimate winner because of the way it went out.

With East Union’s season winding down in an impending California playoff loss to Del Campo, the leading school’s athletic director, Sharon Props, noticed a player with special needs in pads on the East Union sideline. Props spoke with Del Campo coach Mike Dimino, who called a timeout to speak with East Union coach Willie Herrera, who then sent wide receiver Vinny Torrice in to the game.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson, Torrice has Down Syndrome but has always been uniformly accepted as a full teammate on the East Union sideline. That’s precisely what made his touchdown run on the game’s final play such a moment of magic. With Del Campo holding a 49-7 lead, Torrice was given the ball on a straight handoff and escorted to the end zone by both teams.

The result was a memorable touchdown for players from both teams, not to mention everyone whose played a role in Torrice’s life.

“To see his face, you can’t help but feel happiness for him, and seeing all the things I’ve seen in my life (working for the California Highway Patrol), awful things you never want people to see, it was special,” Dimino told the Bee. “After the game, both teams did a prayer.

“There were no white or red or blue jerseys. We were one, together. It was beyond football. These were the best moments of our season.”


More Outside The Box