Priceless play: Freshman with autism scores touchdown

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MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A priceless play was caught on camera at Hannan High School's Friday night football game.

Nathaniel Wilson, a freshman, has autism. After a rough game for Hannan, the ball was passed to Wilson who was able to run to the end zone for a touchdown-- a moment that made up for the scoreboard.

"I mean it was really amazing and just watching all the boys out there, cheering him on, helping him along... the quarterback grabbed his hand and he went even faster," said Nathaniel's mom, Danielle. "I mean, it was pretty amazing."

Senior Football Captain Matthew Qualls says the team decided to give the ball to Wilson with 20 seconds left in the game.

"All of us got smiles on our faces when we saw him out there having such a great time," said Qualls.

Qualls describes Wilson as the "heart and soul" of the team.

Junior Chris Exline says Wilson is treated just like every other player.

"I treat him like one of us," said Exline. "If he doesn't do his best, I'll push him to it. If he runs around the track, we're all running with him."

Wilson joined the football team this year after Head Coach and Physical Education Teacher Kellie Thomas suggested it.

"I have him in gym class and he picked me straight up off the floor and sat me on my feet and didn't budge, so I figured I could use him on the football team," said Thomas.

"He loves the team, loves football," said Danielle. "It's been really good for him."

Wilson was given the game ball to take home. He said making the touchdown "was great."

"We're family," said Thomas. "That's the only way I can put it. We are a family here."

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