By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
High school tailback, Michael Ferns, had just cleared the Edison High secondary and was sprinting unmolested to his 12th touchdown of the season. His undefeated St. Clairsville (Ohio) team was putting the final touches on a significant win over its rival and the senior footballer was trying to impress the University of Michigan scouts who were already considering offering him a full football scholarship. As he crossed over the opponent’s five yard line, Ferns did a curious thing. He slowed down and made a right turn out-of-bounds at the one.
The move was so unexpected that two trailing referees signaled touchdown, but St. Clairsville’s game captain, Dan Monteroso, charged down the sideline to argue the call. Realizing their mistake, the stunned refs placed the ball at the one and Ferns went back into the huddle. It was about this time that unheralded, undersized freshman Logan Thompson entered the game. Ferns changed positions with the newbie and Thompson followed the star player into the end zone for his lone varsity play of the season.
Pretty mundane stuff that occurs most every autumn Friday night somewhere in America. What made this one different is that Logan’s dad, Paul, had died from a sudden stroke on Wednesday. Saying his father would have wanted him to play, Logan suited up with a heavy heart never expecting to see any playing time. Behind the scenes, Coach Brett McLean had encouraged his seniors to get Logan into the game for a meaningful play from scrimmage. The word spread through the team. Despite the cut-throat world of big time high school football where college scholarships ride on every down, the team made a collective decision.
When Ferns made his right turn, all but one kid on the St. Clairsville sideline knew what had happened. “When I saw Mike break away down the sideline I just started yelling for Logan,” McLean said to USA Today. “He was surprised because he — like everyone else — figured Mike would just run it on in. Logan didn’t know anything about what we were doing. His was something that touched the whole team. Logan was going through so much and for a few minutes we helped him get his mind off of things. It honored his dad. It was just an awesome moment,” Mclean added.
Logan was ecstatic. “Looking straight up into the sky after scoring my first varsity touchdown…i know the old man was watching! love and miss you so much daddy,” he tweeted.
Source: USA Today
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger