Meridian teen with special needs becomes inspirational football player

Meridian teen with special needs becomes inspirational football player

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by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 10, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 9:01 AM

MERIDIAN -- Joey Bach is a rock star at Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian.

The senior is making a big splash on the football field this season. Every Friday night, he's had his moment to shine under the bright lights.

They call it the "Joey Special."

Joey's mom, Jennifer, says her son is developmentally delayed and suffers from mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Joey has been on the football team since he was in middle school. He always suited up, but he's never had the chance to play.

This season, new head coach Scott Criner wanted to change that.

"My belief here is if a young man puts in his time, they all deserve a chance to play," said Criner. "Joey has just never been given a chance to go play that play."

And when the season started, the Criner had an idea -- Joey would score a touchdown at every game.

"I have a good friend, Bob Clark, at Boise High, and I told him what I'd like to do, and he said why don't we have this be goodwill with both teams. That's just what happened," said Criner.

At that game, Joey ran for his first touchdown with the players from both teams behind him, cheering him on.

An incredible and emotional night for him, and for his coach.

"To see him finally get to participate, and finally get to be a part of what we do was really exciting," said Criner. "From that point on, coaches would call us, They would see our film and they wanted to be a part of it. Everybody has bought into it."

Since that first game, Joey has scored a touchdown at every game this season.

When they announce it's Joey Bach's touchdown, the fans just automatically start clapping.

"Watching him actually run in the zone, with all those guys," said Jennifer. "Both teams smiling, and knowing there are things actually more important than the end score."

"Oh, I think he loves it," said teammate Jake Knight. "Just to be out there with us, and score with the team."

His teammates are learning important life lessons too.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone," said teammate Khalil Oliver. "It kind of puts it into perspective."

"Joey is the most famous kid at Rocky Mountain High School," said Criner.

So famous, he was crowned homecoming king. An incredible experience for him and for the other students.

Joey's parents are grateful for Coach Criner.

"Coach Criner is fearless in taking advantage of the opportunities," said Jennifer. "I think he's a yes kind of guy. When we talk about Coach Criner, he says 'my coach, my coach,' so I think he found the right coach."

The Grizz played Eagle Friday night in the playoffs. They came out on top, 36-21.

Joey scored his touchdown, like he always does.

Coach Criner tells us Joey has been selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game, and he will get to score a touchdown.

That game is coming up on November 29th.

Some pictures that appear in this story are courtesy www.rockyfootball.com

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