Hilliard boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy scores touchdown in football game

Jackson Maynard, center, drives his wheelchair into the end zone for a Weaver Middle School touchdown (WBNS - 10TV)
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HILLIARD, Ohio - A cheering mother is a universal certainty; you hear it before you see it. Kelly Maynard never thought she would see this.

"Go, buddy," she screamed on the sidelines of the Hilliard Davidson High School football field on Wednesday.

She was cheering on a play as special as the boy who was leading the downfield drive.

Jackson Maynard, 12, is the backbone of his 7th grade football team at Weaver Middle School (WBNS - 10TV)

A boy of few words, 12-year-old Jackson Maynard downplays his own significance to his team. But, his teammates do not.

They know what is important, and who.

"It's just the teamwork aspect," Beckett Walsh said. "All working as a team."

"Jackson is very supportive of all of us and we all love having him on the team," Travis Smith said.

Smith, Walsh and Andrew Painter are Maynard's teammates. More than that, they are Maynard's friends. They know the true backbone of the Weaver Middle School Wildcats.

Beckett Walsh, Andrew Painter and Travis Smith talk about Maynard (WBNS - 10TV)

"It's always exciting to have him at practice and whenever he's at the game, he's freaking out on the sideline," Smith said. "It's fun to see him having a good time."

The sideline is where Maynard catches the games. His mother, Kelly, says it started with a talk with the coach, hoping her son could play even the smallest of part.

"And, [Coach David Swallie] said 'Well, I've never coached a kid in a wheelchair before, but I'm going to figure it out'," she said.

"He came out and we gave him a practice jersey and we gave him game jerseys, shoulder pads and a helmet," Swallie said.

Swallie says there was never a hesitation; yes, he would find a role for Jackson on his team.

Jackson was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at age 5, which is a genetic disorder that breaks down the muscles. Kelly says the use in his legs is gone and he's rapidly losing arm strength.

The disorder is terminal.

"We don't know when any of us are going to go," Kelly said. "But, what we do know is that between now and then we're gonna live the hell outta life. We're gonna live life and we're gonna have fun doing it."

Another universal certainty is that sports has a way of bringing out the good.

"The Jackson Special," Smith said.

"Making Jack feel like he's part of the team," Walsh said of what's important. "Making him feel like he matters."

It's why they and Coach Swallie did what they did.

"It will be the best time, I think, I've ever seen," Walsh said. "Watching one of my best friends who couldn't physically score a touchdown go down and score."

"We just told him be ready," Swallie said. "When we call your name, we call your number, be ready to go out on the field."

And, in Wednesday night's game, his number was called.

A 12-year-old boy, one hand clutching a football, the other full-throttle on his wheelchair, lived out another certainty; if you want it bad enough, there's no stopping you from reaching your goal.

Wednesday night's game, according to Swallie, was a combined effort of supporting schools in the Hilliard City Schools system and the athletic department.

Kelly Maynard has started the Little Hercules Foundation, which is an organization that works to improve the lives of those diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the issues families face.