Scoring the team’s only touchdown in a 35-6 loss is normally nothing to celebrate. But sometimes the touchdown counts as more than six points on the scoreboard.
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In a high-school game in Snohomish, Wash. on Friday, the hometown Snohomish Panthers avoided a shutout in inspirational fashion as junior Ike Ditzenberger — a 17-year-old with Down syndrome — scored on a 51-yard touchdown run after entering the game for the first time with just 10 seconds remaining.
Opposing players and coaches of Lake Stevens were apprised of the play beforehand, dubbed "The Ike Special" by his team. According to the The Daily Herald (Everett, Wash.), the play resembles the final snap of each Snohomish practice as his Panthers teammates allow Ditzenberger to score each day.
Ditzenberger has long dreamed of playing college football.
“You tell him, ‘You get out there and you work hard, (then) you can do whatever you want to do. If you want to play college football, that’s up to you,’” said Kay Ditzenberger, Ike’s mother, according to the Herald. “He knows there’s something waiting for him at the end.”
During Ditzenberger’s first career varsity touchdown (he had also "scored" once during a junior varsity game in 2009), would-be Lake Stevens tacklers made several lunging and diving attempts at Ditzenberger to no avail.