Martinsville boy scores special touchdown

Walker Pemberton is joined by his teammates as he runs for a touchdown.
Martinsville boy scores special touchdown
Martinsville boy scores special touchdown

We are on the cusp of another big football weekend in Indiana, but in Martinsville, everyone is still talking about last week's game.

It is very rare in this life when one gets get the opportunity for a do over. A chance to go back and do that something that, in the heat of the moment, you simply just forgot to do.

The Martinsville Jets were losing to the Ravens in the little league championship 6-0 last Saturday and there was just enough time left for a couple of plays.

"The kids were all crying because they were upset, they were lost and he said hey look, we are going to let this person score and then we are going to let Walker score," said Greg Pemberton.

Pemberton's son, eight-year-old Walker, is the Jets kicker. He's never played football before, but not many children with Joubert Syndrome do. It left him without a portion of his brain that controls muscle tone, coordination and function, leaving him blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. So while he can run and play with his siblings, in organized football, he kicks off and then quickly runs off the field.

But not this time.

"He came in the huddle and I couldn't even get the play out. That is why they were confused, because I broke down," Pemberton said.

Walker's older brother and teammate, Weston, was in that huddle.

"We are going to do 'red dive' and Walker is getting the ball," Weston said.

An amazing thing happened next. While dad tried to hold back tears, all those player tears dried up. They liked the idea of trading touchdowns. When the ball was finally handed to Walker, all he could do was look at his dad. All dad could do was point.

"I was screaming at him to run. Trying to breathe and take the video and watch him at the same time. I was really just proud. I was just proud," said Walker's stepmother, Nicole.

It must have been exciting...even the opponents started signaling touchdown with 40 yards to go.

"I thought of so many things while he was running. I couldn't stop crying, but there was a part of me, as a mother, that thought, 'I can't believe how far he has come'," said Walker's mother, Tracie Smith.

Greg never told Walker's stepmom Nicole or his mother Tracie what he was going to do, which means he also didn't tell them about the electrical tape he used to keep Walkers pants up.

Walker heard the public address announcer call out his run.

"40 yard line, 30 yard line, 10...touchdown!" he recalled.

His teammates had to talk him into spiking the football.

"I don't think a lot of people who walked away from that game could tell you who won or lost. I honestly think everyone in that game thought somebody won," Smith said.

But there was something Walker had forgotten to do. He had practiced it, but never knew if he ever actually would be able to use it, so we took him back to that very same end zone where he scored one week ago and gave him second chance to do his touchdown dance.