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ESPN reporter reflects on story of special area player

ESPN was back in the neighborhood.

Last week the all-sports network was in Ironton to do an interview with Glenn Presnell, the oldest living former NFL player. The segment aired last Sunday on the NFL Game Day program.

This week on the Sports Reporters, host John Saunders commentary was devoted to an event that happened earlier this high school football season.

The panel of sports reporters discuss issues and events of the past week and then each gets a few moments at the end of the show for a commentary. Saunders picked the story of Jake Porter, a member of the McDermott Northwest Mohawks football team.

Porter, a senior, has a disorder known as "Chromosomal Fragile-X," which is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation.

Porter has been a member of the football team for three years and is one of the most punctual members. He is on time for every practice and dresses in full gear for each game.

However, he has yet to play a single down in a game because he is unable to take a hit.

But Porter not only got into his first game earlier this season, he scored a touchdown.

Northwest was playing Waverly and Northwest coach Dave Frantz talked to Waverly coach Derek DeWitt before the game about Porter getting into the game. Franz said if the game got out of hand, which it did, would it be OK for Porter to take a handoff and then take a knee.

DeWitt went one step -- or two -- even better.

With Waverly leading 42-0 and five seconds remaining, DeWitt talked to Franz during a timeout. DeWitt told Franz "We'll let him score."

The coaches spoke to the referees and the play was cleared.

With the ball at the Waverly 49, Porter set up in the Northwest backfield and the play "84-iso" was called, meaning Porter would get the ball. When the ball was snapped, all 21 players parted like the Red Sea and motioned to Porter to run toward the end zone.

Porter had been told to take a knee during practice and was confused when everyone told him to run. Finally, he took off as everyone pointed toward the goal line.

Porter ran for the touchdown as both teams ran along side him and cheered.

Both sidelines and all the f ans joined in the cheering as Porter's run culminated some 10 to 15 seconds later.

After explaining the incident and even showing a film clip of Porter's touchdown run, Saunders said "it is truly a case when both teams are winners."

And this time it is no cliche'.