"I really wanted that more than ever, I would have put my right arm in the air for my dad," Merillion wrote on his Instagram page after Casa's loss, while also expressing love for his teammates and thanking them because "they all didn't mind my disabilities."

Herzog harbors a similar regret. Looking back, he wishes he had figured out a way to throw Merillion the ball in the end zone a couple times. The timing never seemed right.

"That's the one thing I would take back," Herzog said. "At the varsity level you get caught up on winning and handling your business. But I wish I'd have gotten him that touchdown. And if I ever have to do it again, I will."

Herzog may not get another chance. Not to make the coach feel any worse than he already does, but there just aren't that many Spenser Merillions out there.

You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.