Senior, coach, family share reactions to support received following 80 yard touchdown

by Richard Brewster — Editor-in-Chief (The Shield)
by Ryan Konecny  — Staff Reporter (The Shield)

When people think of Friday Night Lights, big hits and one-handed catches are usually what comes to mind, but this wasn’t the case when Varina took on Atlee. The game started out like any other football game, and when time was running out, senior Sepp Shirey stole the show with an 80 yard touchdown. This wasn’t your average big play though, considering Shirey has Cerebral Palsy, or CP, and was able to score this touchdown without his crutches. After the game, the video of Sepp scoring went viral and news outlets all over the country were covering this incredible moment.

Shirey never let CP get the best of him. He’s been playing sports such as foot¬ball and baseball since kindergarten. So when he got the chance to carry the ball during senior night he made the most of it.

While running down the field, Shirey was happy to have his teammates be a part of his moment. “They were really sup¬portive. They were cheer¬ing and helping me out after the run. They were cheering me for the whole way down the field and that was really cool to see because it was such a crappy game that, at the end, they were able to come together,” Shirey said.

Shirey himself wasn’t the only one emotional after the touchdown. “[After the touchdown] I turned around to look at his dad, and his dad gave me a big hug, so it was pretty awesome.” Shirey’s coach, Matt Gray, said. ”I’ve had a lot of fond memories of coaching guys and guys making plays, winning big games, but this one takes the cake.”

His sister Jillian was also extremely happy for her older brother.“[I was thinking about] just how awesome it was that he ran 80 yards without his crutches. I wasn’t thinking much. I was just sobbing,” Shirey said.

After the game, Sepp reflected on his touchdown going viral. “It means a lot to me. It’s really cool to see it go viral and I know that it’s out there and people are getting inspired by me,” Shirey said. Sepp also believes that his touchdown is a reminder to other kids with CP to not let their disability hold them back. “I think that if anyone can take something out of this, especially people with cerebral palsy, is that if you set your mind to something you want to do and you give it a good shot, chances are you’re going to be able to do it. You don’t let easy things or other people stop you from achieving it,” Shirey said