Sam Jordan savored a moment four years in the making when he streaked down the field for a 50-yard touchdown over the weekend to the cheers of his teammates and even the other team.
Jordan, 19, who has Down syndrome, went from the sidelines to the center of the action on March 26 after having been the team manager for four seasons at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Before the kickoff of Lake Norman's Friday night showdown with Vance High School on senior night, the two teams lined up at the 50-yard line. Lake Norman handed the ball off to Jordan, who ran through the line and took off for a touchdown before being mobbed by his teammates.
"It was heartwarming to me because it was the best thing that ever happened to me," Jordan said on TODAY Monday. "It was really awesome."
Wildcats head coach Jonathan Oliphant had worked it out ahead of time with Vance head coach Glenwood Ferebee before the teams squared off in a battle for first place in their conference, according to The Charlotte Observer.
"We just reached out to the coaches, and we wanted him to be a part of the senior night with all the other senior players, and that's all it took," Jordan's mother, Greta, said on TODAY. "They said he's not only going to be a part of it, we have something special that we're cooking up, so they took it from there, and then that beautiful sight of inclusion that you see."
"I talked to my kids and said, 'Make sure that kid has the best moment because he’ll remember this for the rest of his life.'" Ferebee told The Charlotte Observer.
Jordan was thankful to both teams for letting him have his moment in the spotlight.
"It felt like pretty good because it brought the character, showed them that they really care and just let me run a touchdown because that was the biggest encouraging moment for me," he said.
Roger Jordan was also a proud father in seeing his son suit up in pads for the first and only time in a sport that Roger once played himself.
"It was absolutely amazing," Roger Jordan said on TODAY. "It was the highlight of his high school career. It was a highlight for me.
"When he was born, we had no idea that he had Down syndrome. It was two weeks after he came home that we even knew. For me, the first thing I thought was, he's never going to be able to play football. And this was a dream come true for me and for him."
He even bought his son some cleats for his big moment.
"And when they told me they were going to dress him out, I told my wife, 'He's got to have cleats. He can't just go out there in tennis shoes and run, he's got to look the part,''' he said. "I'm so thankful to the coaches and to the other team as well, the sportsmanship that they both showed."
Jordan's inspiring touchdown run has been watched more than 2 million times on Twitter and was shared by one of the NFL's top running backs, Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys.
"Got that @A_kamara6 41 on !! LEGEND !" Elliott tweeted about Jordan's run in reference to New Orleans Saints superstar running back Alvin Kamara.
With one run, Jordan went from a team manager to a celebrated running back.
"I'm feeling pretty emotional because I just can't believe it," he said. "It's just God's blessing for letting me be on this show and show you my emotion because it's really awesome to be with a team, it's really awesome to be with every single person I impacted for four years."