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High School Team Misses Field Goal as Time Expires, Wins Anyway

Sep 30, 2009 – 11:00 AM
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Michael David Smith

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The above video looks, at first, like a fairly ordinary local news broadcast of high school football highlights. But you'll want to keep watching when the action gets really good -- or really bad, depending on your perspective -- at the 1:30 mark.

Here's what happened: In a game between two Vermont high schools, Otter Valley and Mount Mansfield, Otter Valley took a 16-14 lead with 16 seconds left. But Mount Mansfield managed to get inside the 30-yard line with a second to play, where they decided to try a 46-yard field goal.

Like most high-schoolers, the Mount Mansfield kicker couldn't even come close to hitting a 46-yarder, and so the game-winner fell short. But the game wasn't over.

An Otter Valley player caught the missed field goal on the fly and started running with it. Then, inexplicably, he just spiked the ball and started celebrating -- even though the play was going on. So Mount Mansfield junior Jeff Sutherland made the heads-up decision to pick the ball up and run it into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Mount Mansfield won, 20-16.

"The (official) ruling was that the kid fumbled the ball," Mount Mansfield coach Marty Richards told MaxPreps. "The last play continues until the referees call it dead. The Otter Valley coaches contested it for a few minutes. I had an injured player and had to take care of him. I really feel bad for the kid from Otter Valley. ... We coach our kids to play to the whistle -- like every other coach in America. Jeff really saved the game for us because he also stopped their quarterback (earlier) on a two-point conversion at the goal line. It was one of the best form tackles I've seen all year."

It was a great play on the part of Mount Mansfield, but I have to agree with Dashiell Bennett of Deadspin: I can't for the life of me figure out why the Otter Valley coach didn't explain to his players that if the field goal misses, they need to stay away from it. Lesson learned.

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelDavSmith.
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