Brian Herrera, a special needs student in Utah, got to live an athletic dream on Thursday night, scoring a touchdown on the second-half kickoff for his high school football team.
Herrera attends Cottonwood High School in Murray, a suburb of Salt Lake City. The special needs student has known senior Alex Hart since the pair attended junior high school.
“I’d say, ‘What’s up dude?’ and I’d fist bump him,” Hart told KSTU.
Hart and Herrera reconnected in high school and the two friends would have lunch together. They found a special connection through football. Hart is an offensive lineman for the Cottonwood Colts varsity football team.
“Every time I come off the field, I’d come off and he’d give me a hug,” Hart told KSTU.
Hart went to Kailee Sandberg, Herrera’s special needs teacher, and asked if Brian could join a football class and roam the sidelines during games.
“He seems to be doing better socially, his speech is coming along better, he just is all around a happier kid, which I didn’t think he could get any happier but he did,” Sandberg told KSTU.
Thursday night, Cottonwood (1-9) played neighboring Taylorsville (3-6). The Warriors agreed to cooperate with the Colts, and leading 35-7 at the intermission, kicked the ball to Herrera to open the second half. Hart, who had been injured, came into the game for the one play and helped create a convoy for Herrera to score.
“He’s just been my biggest fan, and I’ve been his biggest fan,” Hart told KSTU.
It didn’t matter that Cottonwood lost 49-14. The real winners were Hart, Herrera and both squads.