CAMPBELL (KPIX 5) — In Grantland Rice’s famous poem, the One Great Scorer will write “not that you won or lost but how you played the game.” That sentiment was exemplified by two South Bay high school football teams over the weekend.
It was Senior Night at Cambpell’s Westmont High — the final football game of the season for the Warriors — and the last game of young Joey Acaccia’s school career.
Joey lost more than a hundred pounds playing football at Westmont but, this year, he also lost his beloved grandmother. A concussion two seasons ago kept Joey on the sidelines.
He never missed a practice and suited up for every game.
As he told KPIX 5, “ever since I was little I’ve loved football. I’ve loved playing the game.”
Westmont High’s coach Eric Buran said Joey was the heart and soul of his team and getting Joey into Friday night’s game was a goal for everyone.
Joey played. He even ran the ball twice during the first half. Everyone figured that was that, until the coach from the opposing team heard the crowd chanting Joey’s name and realized he had a special opportunity.
His players — who hadn’t won a game all season — heard his idea and agreed.
San Jose High School coach Darrell Williams approached the official with an unheard-of proposal.
“I went over to the official and wanted to alert them [that] if this young man needed to score, we were on board with it.”
And so it was that Joey Acaccia came back onto the field for the final play of the game. He got the ball and ran straight toward his dream.
“As soon as I saw those guys go down … I’m like ‘Oh my God, I’m getting into the end zone!’ I just ran as fast as I could. And once I got in the end zone my emotions came out and I got on my knees and prayed for my grandmother. I miss her so much.”
Westmont coach Buran said it was “probably the greatest football moment I’ve ever been a part of.”
And San Jose’s coach Williams said it will forever affect his kids as well as himself.
Joey Acaccia said, “I will not forget that play. I’ll tell my kids, my grandchildren.”
Despite a lopsided score on the board, there were no losers on the Westmont High School field that night.
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