Zillah football team helps teammate in wheelchair score his firs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Zillah football team helps teammate in wheelchair score his first touchdown

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ZILLAH, WA - Some people say football is just a game, but for so many small communities in our region, it's so much bigger than that.

Last Friday was senior night at Zillah High School, and one player on the roster waited four years to get in the end zone.

Friday Night Football is a staple at high schools across Washington. For Friday nights in Zillah, there's football and senior Erik Moore.

"He wanted to be a statistician when he grew up, so we tried to figure out a way to make Erik a part of the program," said Matt Brown, Zillah assistant coach.

Erik was born with cerebral palsy and is a quadriplegic. But to his team, he's "Ocho Cinco," and every season while he was counting stats, Coach Brown would ask him the same question.

"'Erik, do you want to run the football?' Every year it's, 'no, no, no.' Then finally this year we said, 'if we get you a helmet that's lighter than the boys would you do it?' He finally said yes," said Coach Brown.

Erik's moment finally came last Friday night, when the Leopards were playing Cle Elum.

"I went to him when we had 1:30 to go in the 3rd quarter and I said, 'Erik, are you ready?' His yes is his left hand and he was just shaking it and I said, 'well we're going on in 1:30,'" Coach Brown said.

Erik's teammate and friend, Ryker Carlisle, would help him run the ball.

"The huddle. When we got in there, I brought him to the front," said Carlisle. "32, Erik, on one-on-one. We broke it out and he was just flailing, it was awesome." 

Erik's family watched him score his first touchdown from the end zone.

"I was just a complete mess, huh, Erik?" said Erin Moore, Erik's mom. "Yeah." 

It was an unforgettable moment for the coaches, the players, and most of all - Erik.

"A lot of emotions," Coach Brown said. "It's pretty neat to have it finally come."