Conestoga senior with special needs scores touchdown, fulfilling dream

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Monday, October 29, 2018
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Conestoga senior with special needs scores touchdown: Sarah Bloomquist reports on Action News at 6 p.m., October 29, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (WPVI) -- Monday was a special day for a young man who holds a special place in the Conestoga High School community.

It was the last junior varsity game of the season for Conestoga and Springfield High School. But something happened to start this game that made it so much more.

A student, a senior with special needs who has stood on the sidelines for four years as the manager, got the chance to make his dream come true.

On Monday, John Stanton scored a touchdown.

Stanton arrived at the Springfield High School football stadium Monday afternoon. For four years, this senior with special needs has been a dedicated team manager, and this would be the day he would take the field.

Conestoga coach Matt Diamond got the plan rolling last week. He was riding in the car with Stanton after a team service project.

"He talked about just how cool of a feeling it would be," Diamond said. "How he always thought it would be neat to score a touchdown."

Diamond immediately reached out to the Springfield High School football coach Dan Plank to see if they'd be game.

"To me it was just an automatic yes," Plank said.

So this afternoon, John Stanton put on pads, warmed up, and got right in the huddle.

The coin toss indicated that Conestoga would be receiving the ball to start the game.

The ball was kicked, and with an assist from number 86, Stanton was off for the end zone.

We asked Stanton about the experience, and if he thought it was everything he dreamed it would be. His answer: "Yeah."

And yes, his touchdown counted.

"You could see him smiling at the 30th yard line," said Kevin Pechin, Conestoga Athletic Director. "He was just beaming. It was just so good for him."

"Very happy for him, and terrific job... terrific," Diamond said.


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