A Big Island school's homecoming ends with a touchdown of a life - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A Big Island school's homecoming ends with a touchdown of a lifetime for one athlete

(Image: Dawn Cordeiro) (Image: Dawn Cordeiro)
HONOKAA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Honokaa and Kealakehe high school football teams came together to give a special player a shining moment he will never forget. 

The Dragons were celebrating homecoming on Friday and were down 31-7 late in the fourth quarter. 

Honokaa senior and special needs student Josh Rodgers was suited up and standing on the sidelines as his team coordinated their final play. 

"They start calling my name and they go, 'Josh, you're gonna run the ball.' And I was like. 'You're joking right?'," Rodgers recalled. 

It was no joke. 

Rodgers' teammate, Kamuela Boneza, proposed the idea to their coach earlier in the game.

Boneza says Rodgers is an important member of the team who doesn't get a lot of playing time, and he wanted to make his senior night special. 

"He's out there every day. Practices every day. I honestly haven't seen him miss a practice yet. He's a really good spirit, he cracks some jokes sometimes, and hes just a really good kid," Boneza said. 

Both teams -- as well as the referees -- were in on the plan.  

It was Honokaa's fourth down when Rodgers entered the game and got the hand off. He rolled towards the sideline and started running. 

"I just ran it like there's no tomorrow. At the first part nervous cause I'm like, 'Oh no they're going to tackle me!,' but at the end, I was excited," Rodgers said. 

"As he passed our offensive line, even the other team turned and started running with him down the field screaming his name. The whole crowd was going off. They were all cheering his name all the way down," said Boneza. 

Josh ran 65-yards for his first touchdown -- coincidentally the same number on his jersey -- and he got to keep the game ball. 

Even though the Dragons lost 31 to 14 that night, the team says they still feel like they won. 

"It was really heartwarming. I kind of teared up on the sideline. Honestly, I think that meant a lot to him. I think that meant something special for him," Boneza said. 

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly