A special touchdown for a special player at Wagener-Salley

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 11:31 PM EST
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WAGENER, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As the high school football season winds down and teams fight for playoff position, the games are getting more intense.

But Wagener-Salley and Calhoun County put that aside for one play tonight, as the teams came together to make a memorable senior night for a team manager.

At every Wagener-Salley football game, you can catch Brenden Johnson on the sidelines cheering on the War Eagles.

“Brenden’s probably the biggest fan I’ve ever met of Wagener-Salley,” Head Coach Willie Fox said.

“He brings lots of energy. A lotta energy. He turns everybody up,” Nigel Brown, senior linebacker, said.

Brenden has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which is a rare form of epilepsy. But that doesn’t stop him from cheering on his guys every week.

“It’s not about winning and losing to him. He’s winning every Friday night, because he’s with his guys, his buddies, his football players,” Efird Johnson, Brenden’s dad, said. “I’ve waited 17 years for a coach to say ‘Brenden, I need you to in for me.’”

On senior night, he got that chance.

“He’s always out here with us. He’s always on fire for the War Eagles and we want to just do something nice for him. It’s senior night. It’s considered his senior year and we want to do something cool for him,” Fox said.

Before kickoff, the teams lined up for one play -- a run up the middle for Brenden.

It was one of those bigger than football moments. And a moment years in the making.

“This idea was brought up three years ago when we first started by that senior class. They wanted to see him. And coach was like, 'No let’s wait until he’s an age-appropriate senior. Let’s do it his senior year,” Johnson said.

Brenden celebrated with a spike before being mobbed by his teammates.

“They don’t look at him any different than they do themselves. They treat him just like he’s one of the guys. What more could you ask for? I’ll take it with me to the grave,” Johnson said.

Brenden’s dad says that moment was like watching 17 years flash before his eyes. He’s a proud dad, and that touchdown will be a moment they’ll never forget.

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