The word came cascading from the student section in a singular voice, and as he took the field, Walker Wedell heard his name.

“Walker!” “Walker!” “Walker!”

This was a moment, three years in the making. The ball was at the 15-yard line. His Bearcat teammates were lined up with one goal in mind — to make sure Walker Wedell scored his touchdown.

It was the scene right after the second quarter ended during Sherman’s Homecoming win against Justin Northwest on Friday. There was no time on the clock, just an untimed down to create a timeless memory.

Walker Wedell is a senior at Sherman. He loves football and when he showed up as a sophomore, head coach J.D. Martinez, his staff and the players welcomed him to the team. He was like any other Bearcat. He showed up ready to work. He went through drills at practice then sat at his locker waiting to get picked up. He was right there on the roster, first as No. 33 and now as No. 99, and on the sideline for every game.

The only thing missing was a chance to play.

“Walker!” “Walker!” “Walker!”

Walker, whom the team affectionately calls PawPaw, has Down syndrome and so putting him in any game situation would be a safety risk. But there had to be a way to reward what he has brought to the Sherman program over these past three years. He celebrates the touchdowns with those who score them. He mourns the losses like any player does. He said the team prayer before a game once. Sweet and simple. “Kick butt. Amen.”

“He gets upset when there’s not practice. He always wants to play,” said his mother, Nicki Wedell. “He gets sad when they get sad. He’s a part of it.”

And so the culmination of a special bond between Walker and the Bearcats was on display. A opportunity to score a touchdown like he had seen his friends Mike Brown and Benji Omayebu and Gage Smith do.

“The story just gets better. We appreciate Coach Martinez and what he’s wanted for Walker, including him and helping him has meant so much for us,” Nicki said. “What they did was probably 45 seconds but for us it’s the highlight of his high school years.”

So there he was at the 15-yard line, lined up next to quarterback Tate Bethel. Walker knew just what to do. He’s done it dozens of times in practice over the years.

“We either throw it to him or hand it off. I told Tate not to let him try to convince Tate to throw it and make sure he hands it off,” Martinez said. “It’s a very proud moment. I’m smiling so much I’m laughing. It was really great to see.”

As he trotted out onto the field, the chant started.

“Walker!” “Walker!” “Walker!”

He turned to acknowledge his classmates, waiving at the stands before it was time to get serious. Northwest needed a scouting report because it was obvious where Walker was headed.

“We’ve been running Walker plays for three years and he always goes left,” Martinez said. “Even when we try to run a sweep to the right, he always ends up back to the left. He definitely has a favorite way to go.”

The ref blew the whistle and there he went around the left end, just like always, after taking the hand-off. Tackle Tyler Smith made sure to block the linebacker hanging over the edge. Receiver Jacoby Hunt motioned to follow right behind him as he went to wall off the safety.

Smith was out on the edge, making sure the corner was put to the ground, and couldn’t make a play on the hard-charging Walker.

“That’s pretty cool for a kid to give himself up like that for someone else,” Martinez said about everything Northwest head coach Bill Poe and his players did in being a part of this. “That’s pretty special.”

Bethel ran right alongside and Walker cradled the ball like he was supposed to, in his left hand. Nine seconds later he crossed the goal line. He was mobbed by his teammates, who lifted him up as he pumped his arms in celebration.

“It was a good time,” Walker said.

It was such a good time that when Sherman came out for the start of the second half, Walker tugged on Martinez’s elbow and said two words.

“One more.”

“It was fun,” Walker said. “Yeah, I wanted to do it again.”

That’s the thing about having a dream come true. You want to do it again.

The ball now sits by his bed, a symbol of a night so many won’t forget. And may forever the echoes remind him of the moment when a Sherman Bearcat got to score a very special touchdown.

“Walker!” “Walker!” “Walker!”