By Chelsea Karnash
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – Salisbury High School’s football team didn’t win Friday’s game against Southern Lehigh, but it’s doubtful anyone will remember that.
What they will remember is 16-year-old Tyler Strauss’ amazing touchdown moment.
Strauss, who has a rare developmental disorder called Fragile X syndrome, is usually on the sidelines as Salisbury’s team manager, but on Friday, he got the chance to suit up and run the ball more than 70 yards into the end zone.
According to Salisbury Head Coach Andy Cerco, two of the team’s senior players, Teddy Denver (who, unfortunately, broke his leg during the game Friday and whose jersey Tyler wore) and Wes Maron, as well as junior Mason Donaldson, organized the play to honor Tyler, who has spent two years with the team as manager.
The three also have a special bond with Strauss, Cerco says, and were key in getting him to join the football team. This year, they wanted to do something special during the season’s final game to show Tyler how much he means to both them and the school.
In the week leading up to the game, Strauss and his teammates practiced running the play, and Cerco says Tyler couldn’t have been more excited.
“He practiced with the team the whole week…he did everything the rest of the team did,” Cerco says. “He’s one of the guys.”
And though his touchdown didn’t happen by chance, that didn’t make it any less special for Tyler, his teammates and the spectators watching the game. The moment was caught on camera, and with cheers of “Go! Go! Go!” and “Tyler!” accompanying him, Strauss ran triumphantly into the end zone to score.
It wasn’t just Salisbury’s fans cheering, either. Southern Lehigh’s football coach, John Toman, calls it a “great moment for Tyler, and both communities.” Oddly enough, he’s also lived next door to the Strauss family since 2000 and says Tyler is a “great kid that always brings a smile to my face.”
“With so many negative things surrounding football these days, it was nice to see such a great moment for a kid that loves the sport,” Toman adds.
“It’s a rival game for us, but our coaching staff is friends, our players are friends,” he says. “It’s really more of a friendly rivalry at this point, and [Southern Lehigh’s players] did a great job. It was a real show of sportsmanship on both sides.”
And despite Salisbury’s loss to Southern Lehigh, 42-34, Tyler got to have his winning moment on the field – something many will never forget.
“Tyler is a very special young man who has touched the hearts of everyone who has had the privilege to work with and know him,” Salisbury’s principal, Heather Morningstar, said. “It was, simply put, a remarkable night.”
To see video of Tyler’s touchdown, visit click here.