8th-Graders Devise Secret, Inspiring Touchdown Play

Olivet Middle School's football team wanted to make Keith Orr's day

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 1, 2013 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – Talk about a touching touchdown: Sheridan Hedrick was about to hit the end zone at a Olivet Middle School football game in Michigan on Oct. 5 when he stopped at the one-yard line. Unbeknownst to anyone, the 8th-grade team was about to perform the "Keith Special"—a play that can only be completed by Keith Orr, a student with behavioral and learning disabilities. "He always tries his hardest," Sheridan told WILX. "We thought it would be cool to do something and have him get a touchdown." Keith ran the ball across the goal line and "the stadium erupted," said the team's coach. "The kids have never celebrated a touchdown as enthusiastically as Keith's touchdown."

It was a play Keith's teammates had come up with on their own, and one that was weeks in the making. "The coaches didn't know anything about it," one player tells CBS News. "If you do something nice to people, then probably it could change someone's life forever, and I think we changed Keith's life," Sheridan said. "That's what gets to me," said Keith's mom. "Not that my kid made a touchdown, but that these kids planned it. ... They made it happen for him." As for Keith, he said the touchdown was "awesome," adding, "before I started playing football I barely had any friends. Now I have a bunch." (Click for another heart-warming sports story.)

The Olivet Middle School football team after the Oct. game.
The Olivet Middle School football team after the Oct. game.   (Facebook)
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NBC News 10 reports on the Olivet Youth Football club.   (NBC News 10)

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