WATCH: Military Mom Surprises Her Son at California High School Football Practice After Coming Home Early from Deployment

What started as a normal weeknight football practice turned out very differently for one California high schooler.

Earlier this month, Samuel Harris — who goes by the nickname “Tote” — was standing in front of his teammates after practice sharing a short motivational speech about who inspires him.

“Somebody in my family I respect — there’s a lot of people — but I would say my mom, because she’s been gone for about a year with the military,” Tote, 16, told his teammates in a video shared by the football team’s booster club. “She’s going to continue to work hard. She’s a hard worker.”

The high school sophomore from San Diego had no idea his mom, Tereca Harris, who had been deployed with the US Navy for nine months, was standing behind him as a surprise.

“My initial date to return wasn’t supposed to be until November, because that’s when my orders were up, but my grandmother is ill and she’s not going to get better,” Tereca Harris told TODAY Parents. “So they allowed me to cut it short a couple months. But we did not tell Tote I was coming home.”

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SOURCE: TODAY, Kait Hanson