SAN DIEGO -- Jake Bowers has been a beloved member of the Rancho Bernardo High School football team since his freshman year, but he achieved something he never had before in a special moment on Senior Night.
Bowers, who has special needs, serves as the team's enthusiastic team manager, pumping up players, helping pass out water and keep track of equipment. But last Friday, Bowers took the field in pads and a helmet for a special moment arranged between the Rancho Bernardo Broncos and visiting Poway Titans.
In a play that ran just before opening kickoff in front of a roaring crowd, Bowers took a handoff and sped past the visiting Titans players for a touchdown that didn't count in the scorebook, but meant everything to the young man who scored it.
"He was a star for the day," Broncos Head Coach Tristan McCoy said. "To put him in the spotlight in a positive way, and to see our kids and (fans) in the stands erupt in applause for him was amazing."
Despite their rivalry with the Broncos, Titans players and coaches were happy to participate. After Bowers scored, his teammates mobbed him in the endzone. McCoy credited the inspiring moment for helping lift Rancho Bernardo to a 16-7 win.
After the game, Bowers told FOX 5 "it felt great" to score.
"It felt great to see a team rally around their team rally around their team manager, a school rally around their student, the community rally around our school in general and support this project -- it warms my heart," Jake's mom, Liz Bowers, told FOX 5.