Waterboy described as the "heartbeat" of football team scores in - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Waterboy described as the "heartbeat" of football team scores inspirational touchdown

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BECKLEY, WV (WVVA) -

It was a dramatic night on the grid-iron in Beckley, as Beckley-Stratton and Eastern Greenbrier faced off at Van Meter Stadium.

The game was exciting, sure.

But the real excitement played out in the stands and on the sidelines as a special moment took place late in the game.

14 year-old Ian Armstrong is described by teammates as the “heartbeat” of the Beckley-Stratton Bulldog football team.

But, Ian is not the star quarterback, nor is he the Bulldogs' bruising middle-linebacker.

Rather, teammates say he is their inspiration.

"He cheers us on during our Varsity games and our JV games, he helps us out, even brings us water and everything,” teammate Ryan Elswick said.

"If the world had Ian's attitude, the world would be in a much better place,” head coach Dave Ray said. “He's always smiling, he always has something positive to say, and he's a joy to be around."

Ian's mom Renee Armstrong-Lynch says her son was diagnosed with a developmental delay, and while his diagnosis has made some things difficult for Ian, it's never dampened his love for his friends, or his passion for the game of football.

“I love and the coaches and I love the school and I just love it," Ian Armstrong said.

Ian's commitment to the team and his infectious, positive attitude is why coach Dave Ray decided it was time to call Ian's number.

For one game, Ian would get to trade in his role as the team manager and waterboy, for the blue, #33 Bulldog jersey.

"I'm really proud of him, I think every kid needs a chance to know what it feels like to shine,” Armstrong-Lynch said.

With just over a minute remaining in the game, coach Ray called for a special play that he and the team has been working on for a few weeks.

A special 4th down rushing play, involving Ian, designed to get him to the end-zone.

A host of blockers led Ian across the goal-line, as both teams celebrated his achievement.

The game between Beckley-Stratton and Eastern Greenbrier ended in an 8-8 tie. A rather forgettable score, overshadowed by an unforgettable moment.

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