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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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sports

Park Ridge Team Manager With Down Syndrome Scores Touchdown

Matt "Matty Ice" Gray after scoring a touch down for Park Ridge.
Matt "Matty Ice" Gray after scoring a touch down for Park Ridge. Photo Credit: Park Ridge Football Boosters

PARK RIDGE, N.J. — Few dry eyes remained in the Park Ridge football stadium Friday night as senior Matt Gray tore down the field for a 20-yard touchdown against Wood-Ridge's defensive line.

The play — dubbed "Ice Left" — didn't count on the scoreboard, but resonated deeply with the crowd as the Owls walked off with a 22-20 win, carrying Gray on their shoulders.

"Matt is unbelievable and the team has done a great job taking him in and making him a part of the family," coach Chris Della Fave told Daily Voice.

"It makes you realize that just because someone is presented with a problem it doesn't need to dictate their life or how they should live it."

Usually, Gray is on the sidelines. The 17-year-old was born with Down Syndrome, and his teammates wanted to give him a moment on the field to remember, booster club mom Jamie Lewis told Daily Voice.

"It was incredible," she said. "That meant more to anyone than any win we’ve ever had."

Gray has been with the team since the rec division. Last week's move brought them all even closer.

"He never misses a game," Della Fave said.

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