LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Usually some of the most important plays in high school football happen just before the clock hits zero, but that wasn't the case Friday night at East Limestone High.
It's what happened in the seconds after the game, that showed everyone on that field, but especially one young player in particular, what winning really looks like.
On the East Limestone sideline, players come and go, but throughout the last decade there have been two constants: Head Coach Jeff Pugh wearing the headset and Brenan Ashmore on the sideline.
Brenan was first recruited as a team assistant in 2006, and has been fist bumping, shaking, hugging and greeting everyone he knows, and even those he doesn't, ever since.
“There’s nobody out here that he doesn't know and if he doesn’t know them he’ll know them by the time the game is over," said Patrick Ashmore, Brenan's father.
Brenan's journey through life has been one step at a time.
“It started with hydrocephalus which is water on the brain, he’s had aneurysms, he’s had major back surgeries, major brain surgeries," said Patrick.
"I don’t let that get to me, I just push on," said Brenan.
His dad said they knew early on, he wouldn't be a conventional star athlete, but leave it to Brenan to refuse to take no for an answer.
"From a young age, he was told he couldn’t play, and would never play," said Patrick.
“I give it all to the team, they gave me a chance, and Couch Pugh gave me a chance," said Brenan.
Most Friday nights, Brenan is a source of encouragement to others, but on this game night, the shoe is on the other foot.
"I’ve got butterflies but I’m feeling good though," said Brenan.
Coach Pugh gave the word, it's time for Number 17 to put on his helmet for the very first time.
“Coaching staff giving the opportunity to just participate means a lot,” said Patrick.
With a tribe chanting his name and a coach who loves him like a son, Brenan took one final knee to pray, and when the clock hit zero, Brenan left the sideline behind to become the unconventional star athlete he was always meant to be.
He lined up as the running back, swept around the back right, and ran into the endzone, where he was greeted by the entire student section, chanting his name.
On the other side of the mob of supporters, stood his proud mother, sobbing.
“He loves these people and they love him, it’s just too much, he’ll never forget this," said Susan Ashmore.
While countless players on this team will come and go, they may never have another who loves, or is loved, quite like Brenan.
“You’ll hear it for the rest of his life, this will be the story you hear, I just can’t thank everybody enough for making this happen for him," she said.
“I’m so proud of you, I love you," said the proud mother.
"I love you," said the star running back.
Brenan has been a part of the football program at East Limestone for 15 years, and has absolutely no plans of leaving anytime soon.
Though he will graduate soon, he tells WHNT News 19 he has every intention of coming back to help on the sidelines for as long as they'll have them.
We seriously doubt that will be a problem.