More Then Just a Game

February 2, 2010
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As the home crowd was getting louder and louder by every play, there was only 1:52 left in the 4th quarter. Every fan, coach and spectator was waiting on what my next action would be. We were playing our rivals the American Fork Cavemen, in the 2009 state football championship game. The score was 32-25 and we were down by 7. Lined up at our own 25 yard line, I gently moved my right foot back sending my tight end in motion. As I studied their defense and noticed that the outside backer from the weak side was going to blitz, everything seemed like they were moving in slow motion. “Down, set, blue 42, set… HIKE!!” The ball was snapped and I suddenly felt like my whole life was on the line.

It was the week before the state football game and our team just got thru a rough practice. Everyone on the team was excited yet nervous at the same time because this was the first time PG has made it to state in over 20 years. It was a Tuesday night and I just got home. When I first pulled up to the corner by my house I noticed that my front yard was full of police men and the streets were blocked off by several police cars and an ambulance. I immediately parked the car and ran as fast as I could towards the house. When I got to the door I saw my little sisters and brother sitting on the couch with my mother. Their faces covered in tears I suddenly felt a deep heart wrenching feeling. I found out that my father was robbed on the way home from work and was shot and killed in his pick up truck in the middle of the road.

When I first received the news I didn’t know what to believe. My dad was my role model and he was also my best friend whom I could always go to if I needed a problem. I was still in shock after a couple of hours and I still didn’t know what to think. He was always the one that gave me pointers on what I needed to improve on as a quarterback and leader on the football team. From here on out, I dedicated my whole season to him because I knew that he would be proud of me if I led my team to state.

It was the day before the big game and I have never been so nervous in my entire life. The day went by fast and we had just finished our last team walk through. While everyone was thinking about the game I knew that this game was more important to me then anyone else on the team. As I lay in bed that night thinking about everything and everyone that effected my life the only thing I could think about was what my father was say to me if he was there to watch. Knowing him he would probably tell me to stay humble, calm and take every game as it were my last. He would always tell me this before every game and I never really understood it until now. This was more then just a state championship football game to me; this was to represent my family, team and especially my father.

The ball was snapped and everything was moving in a fast paste. I dropped back in the pocket and glanced from one side of the field to the other and found one of my receivers open. As I was about to send the ball in his direction I found myself in a difficult situation. The middle backer was running full speed towards me up the middle. As I stood and watched him get closer and closer I whipped my arm back as far as I could with the ball in my hand giving him the illusion that I was going to throw it. As I expected, he leaped into the air and that’s when I sprinted past him. As I ran as fast as I could up the middle I seen a bright red helmet running towards my direction from the right side. I could tell that he tried to hit me as hard as he could and tried to strip the ball but I didn’t work. I gained about 26 yards on the play and there was only 1:41 on the clock. We called a quick time out after the play we were good for another down.

“Down set, blue 23, set Hike!” The ball was snapped again but this time It was a play action. I faked the hand off to the tail back and I rolled out to the right side of the field to see if there was anyone open. As time felt like it was going slower and slower I quickly seen that my tight end was open. I bulleted the ball to him and he caught it while running out of bounds at about their 45-yard line. The clock stopped at 1:26 and we were out of time outs. As we were waiting in the huddle for the next play to come in, I was trying to think about how we were going to win this game but I couldn’t. I was just thinking about my father the whole time.

When we did get the play back I knew that we would have to hurry after I threw the ball. As it snapped right into my hands I dropped back a couple of more yards and that’s when all four linemen were running towards me untouched. As I waited till they got a little closer as the play was designed, I gently threw the ball over all of them to my half back who was being led by all of my offensive line. As he caught it you could see bodies flying across the field trying to hit him but the play almost worked to perfection. When everyone thought that he was gone for the touchdown as he ran on the side line, he was caught by a defender and was tackled at the 12 yard line with the clock still ticking.

As the clock ticked down at 49 seconds I tried my best to rush everyone back to the ball. I hiked it again but this time I threw the ball straight to the floor to end the clock. It was 2nd down and we were on the 12 yard line with 44 seconds left in the game. When we went back to the sideline my coach gave me a run play instead of pass to run out some of the game clock. After our running back gained about 6 yards on the play the clocked ran and there was only 13 seconds left. We hurried back to the line of scrimmage and suddenly everything felt like they were moving slow motion again.

“Down, set Hike” as the ball snapped into the air for one last play I dropped back into the pocket and analyzed the end zone to see of anyone was open. As time ran out on the clock, I noticed that my line couldn’t hold their guys for much longer. As the first defender dove at me I quickly ducked and avoided the sack. The second guy ran full speed towards me but he was too late. I seen the middle wide open and I took the chance. I sprinted as fast as I could into the end zone just like that, the game was over.

We had won the game and I felt like I didn’t do anything to win the game. I felt that my dad was the one who was guiding me and he led me to the game winning touchdown. That game was the most important game I have ever played in my entire life and will always remain the best memory of my father.

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