LAND O LAKES, FL - By now, the Sunlake Seahawks are used to moments like this.
"I love these young men as if they were my own."
For a year and a half, Xavier Johnson, has been on the sideline. The tubing accident that severely damaged his motor control, has made every moment feel like it could be the last.
"He gets to go to team meetings. He is welcome to come to the weight room. He comes to practices,” Ross Johnson, Xavier’s father, said.
The rehab regimen has been documented on facebook. He communicates by holding up one or two fingers, or kicking a leg, or smiling.
"He's doing things that they said he would never be able to do."
Friday night, after the opening kickoff, Sunlake and River Ridge agreed to stop the game, so he could get one into the end zone.
"He has never lost this drive, this hope, this peace."
For a minute and ten seconds, this one time star linebacker battled.
Not against his opponents, but against himself.
Could he make it?
"There is so much firing in his brain to get him to stand up like that."
A minute and ten seconds, to go two yards, with nothing but end zone in front of him.
"I couldn't even begin to quantify the exertion it takes."
A father never thinks this is how his son's heroic touchdown will look.
A random accident was an end in one way, as surely as it was a beginning in a thousand others.
"The story that he has written through Xavier, through a wheelchair, blows away the story that I was writing for him on the football field."