Trent Glaze has spent a majority of his life in a wheelchair. Born with muscular dystrophy, the teenager has still found ways to feed his love of sports, serving as a manager of the Lancaster (Ohio) Fairfield Union High football team throughout his high school years and emerging as a vocal leader. As a senior, he was front and center in the team's official photo and was even named a co-captain, calling out offensive plays from his wheelchair on the sideline.
That was supposed to be as close as he ever got to actual game action … until Friday night. That's when coaches for Fairfield Union and its opponent, Teays Valley, agreed to stay on the field after the final whistle so that Union could run one more play: A designed hand off to Glaze, who then motored his way into the end zone.
As first reported by the Lancaster Eagle -- and quickly followed up by NBC Sports blog Off the Bench and Larry Brown Sports -- the result was a play equal parts heartwarming and electric, with Fairfield Union players and fans finally free to give Glaze the respect and honor he deserved for four years of steadfast commitment to a program that finished the 2011 season without a win.
Glaze's touchdown, on which the wheelchair-bound player was decked out in a full Fairfield Union uniform, isn't the first in high school history -- that honor may belong to then-Manila (Ark.) High senior Dylan Galloway's score against Rivercrest (Ark.) High in 2010 -- but it still stands out as a clear highlight from a rough season for Union, which finished the 2011 season at 0-10 after the 28-19 loss to Teays Valley
Then again, you don't have to take Prep Rally's word for it: Just check out the scene above, which is the true pinnacle of good sportsmanship.
"He's a good kid, and he deserves it, and I love him dearly," Fairfield Union coach Tom McCurdy told the Lancaster Eagle. "He may not be on the field, but ... high school athletics is about him."
It turns out that much of Fairfield Union's persona is all about Trent Glaze. The senior -- nicknamed "Big T" -- is arguably the school's most popular student and was recently named homecoming king. On Friday, much of the crowd wore shirts emblazoned with his nickname. The Eagle reported that three separate rounds of "We want Trent!" chants rang out through the crowd over the course of the Union loss.
And yet, when it was all over, Glaze acknowledged how much the play had meant to him, but intimated that he was just as inspired by how the Union offense had rallied in the fourth quarter against a tough Teays Valley defense.
No matter. His teammates were more than touched enough by the entire episode to put it in proper perspective.
"It means a lot. I've been waiting for this a long time," said a tearful Brice Winegardner, a freshman linebacker and offensive lineman.