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Oxnard High team gives student with cerebral palsy touchdown opportunity

Ventura County Star - 10/12/2017

Oct. 12--When Jonathon Garcia, 17, scored a touchdown last week, it wasn't just Oxnard High School teammates who celebrated. Hueneme High School, the opponents facing a 37-6 loss, were cheering, too.

Garcia, an Oxnard High senior, has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair. He's been a familiar face on the sidelines but during the junior varsity homecoming game, Garcia was the star running back.

After the touchdown, Garcia beamed, his lifelong dream of playing football fulfilled.

"Pure happiness is what I saw," said Jeff Garcia, Jonathon's father.

The idea to put Jonathon in the game came from junior varsity coach Mike Gibbs.

"He asked me at halftime if I wanted Jonathon to score this year," said Jeff Garcia, who is an offensive coach for the JV team.

The whole team got involved, including the opponents, and invited Jonathon to the field for the final play.

"For me, it was kinda indescribable," Jeff Garcia said. "All fathers have the dream of their son being like them, playing football and baseball."

Jonathon is always at the games, watching his father coach from the sidelines.

"He's never, ever declined wanting to be on the field with me. He just physically can't go in," Jeff Garcia said. "When I can get him the opportunity to do that and give him the satisfaction ... it got to the point where I cried."

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(c)2017 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)

Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at www.vcstar.com

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