October 14, 2009

Team wins on 96-yard fumble return on final play

Tie score ... second-and-goal from the 1 ... four seconds to go in the game ... what would you do?

Last Friday night in Pennsylvania, Greenville High opted to go for the touchdown against Oil City High. What happened next produced as stunning an ending as there has been this year in high school football.

Greenville quarterback David Holiga attempted to pitch the ball back to running back Dylan Zuschlag, but a bad toss left the ball sitting on the 4.

Oil City's Dallas Williams picked it up and went 96 yards untouched for the winning score in a 33-27 victory. Zuschlag gave chase but pulled up at the end when it became obvious he wasn't going to catch the speedy Williams.

"Never say die," Oil City coach Matt LaVerde told Craig Phillips of The Derrick in a story posted on the school's Web site. "That's why you play every play until the final whistle."

Greenville, stopped at the 1 on first down (also in video), opted against the chip-shot field goal attempt. LaVerde said he wasn't surprised.

"If I had their huge line and back, I would have run, too."

Greenville, the No. 6 AA team in the state was a three-touchdown favorite according to the Bill Born Power Index.

Greenville coach Brian Herrick figured he could get the 1 yard the team needed. "Any time we have the ball at the 1-yard line, I think we can punch it in," he said.

It's hard to find an analogous ending. The closest may have been The Miracle at the Meadowlands when the Giants fumbled while trying to run out the clock. (You have to find that yourself on YouTube)

Herman Edwards of the Eagles ran back the fumble for the winning score.

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