Friday night football – it’s a tradition at many high schools. But there was one Texas high school where a Friday night football game became quite the touching moment.
During a game between the Lubbock High Westerners and the Andrews Mustangs, both teams came together to end the night with a very sweet gesture: allowing a senior with special needs to get the final tackle.
It was a moment the student – and the two schools – won’t soon forget. But it was a moment that had initially been sparked by the coach of the rival team.
According to Pete Christy KCBD, Evan Sparks is a high school student who has been playing football for a few years now, mainly on the junior varsity team. Sparks hadn’t yet had a chance to make a big play during one of the Mustangs’ varsity game yet, but that was about to change. During the game, the Mustangs were up 64-14 over Lubbock High. Victory was in sight and there were only seconds left on the clock. The student section then began to chant, “We want Sparky, We want Sparky.”
When Lubbock High Head Football Coach, Juan Rodriguez, heard what was going on, he decided it was the perfect moment to teach his team something about kindness.
Rodriguez stated, “There are things outside of football, sometimes there are a lot more important things that we need to focus on.”
That’s when Rodriguez called for a timeout, confusing Andrews’ Head Coach, Tom Harvey. Next thing he knew, Rodriguez was sending over a messenger.
Harvey stated, “He calls the official over and he sends the official over to tell us and says, ‘You could put #34 in. We won’t touch him.”
Harvey put Sparks out on the field, and the rest was history. Westerner Sean Briceno ran to his side and Sparks was able land the big tackle that ended the game.
In regards to the big moment, Sparks said, “Honestly, nervous and shocked that I was able to go out and make that tackle. I mean, big win for us, especially during homecoming. It was amazing.”
According to Fox 34 News, Sparks is living with only one lung, has severe scoliosis as well as neuropathy, and has to get his nutrition through a feeding tube. He has waited years to get his doctor’s approval to play football. The tackle was a dream come true, described Sparks’ mom, Jamie Moore.
“It was a joy to be a part of it. It wasn’t me, like I said, it was a God thing and it started with Coach Rodriguez on the other sideline actually,” Harvey stated in the video below.
“This act of kindness is going to be bigger than what you’ll ever, I said, bigger than what the score is right now. And I said, you’ll understand, you may not understand it all tonight. But, as you breathe it and understand it and you live it, you’re definitely going to remember this play for a long long time.”
Watch the video below: