In last Friday’s night Valley Christian Academy football game against Coast Valley League rival Maricopa, there was one spectacular – if unusual – play that I failed to mention when I wrote to game story.
Because of time and space limitations, I kept the story to the keys plays of the game.
But there was one more play that really is worth mentioning.
Near the end of the third quarter, VCA began a drive at its own 31.
The Lions were on their way to a three-and-out.
So, on fourth down, VCA punter (and running back, receiver and defensive back) Trenton Lane was back near the 20 waiting for the snap – which promptly sailed over his head, way over his head.
He chased the ball down just in front of the goal line then, with the Indians defense bearing down, made a mad scramble left then right looking for an opening to try to get off the kick.
That wasn’t happening.
Lane was in big – make that BIG – trouble.
So he got creative.
From his own five yard line, he spotted a VCA blue shirt down field and let fly.
The ball flew 51 yards down field where the Lions’ Kiernan Quinonez went up, up, up and came down with a reception right along the sideline.
Maricopa’s punt returner stayed back in case Lane got the kick off so he was right there, first trying to out-jump Quinonez and, when that didn’t happen, he was right there to make a touchdown saving tackle.
The Lions had an improbable first down at the Maricopa 24.
Even though the ball traveled a bit more than 50 yards through the air, it was officially a 25 yard completion – remember the line of scrimmage was the VCA 31.
What a pass.
What a catch.
Except – “Kiernan was actually our center on the play so he wasn’t an eligible receiver,” VCA head coach Pete Fortier told me at Monday’s Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table luncheon. “But the refs must have missed it. They didn’t call a penalty on the play.”
The play kept alive what would become a 12-play drive.
But the Lions couldn’t capitalize.
They ended up with a fourth-and-goal at the Maricopa 11.
VCA quarterback Matt Bullock was picked off on his fourth down pass attempt by Maricopa’s Ignacio Hernandez.
Hernandez ran it back 70 yards for the score completing Maricopa’s comeback from a 16-6 deficit.
They went on the win 26-22.
Still, the play was worthy of ESPN’s Top 10.
And it’s just another reason why 8-man football is so unpredictable – and entertaining.