Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it. This is one of those times.
Last week, one of the wildest finishes to ever take place on a football field happened during the Alabama Class 7A championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium between (13-0) No. 1 Thompson and (11-1) No. 3 Auburn.
Auburn was up 28-19 with 1:17 left… and lost.
There was a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, an onside kick, two defensive pass interference calls — resulting in 30 penalty yards — and a game-winning field goal at the buzzer.
How does that happen?
“I’m basically speechless,” Thompson coach Mark Freeman told AL.com. “The way things turned out in the end, the way it happened, is unbelievable.”
“Our guys fought and battled. They don’t ever give up. And then, before your eyes, you see a miracle.”
The win gave Thompson back-to-back titles as they started and ended the season ranked No. 1 in the state.
“I’m really trying to process it all right now,” said Auburn coach Adam Winegarden. “It’s difficult right now.”
“I really can’t put into words how bad this hurts. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Right now, I’m kind of in shock. The kids are in shock. I’m trying to process the end of the game.”
Auburn was less than two minutes from their first state title, and then the impossible happened.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a crazy/head-scratching ending to a high school game this season. Last month, Fayetteville High School’s quarterback took a knee on 4th down with two seconds left on his own 11-yard line, as they were leading Little Rock Central 37-35.
You can guess what happened next. Central kicked a game-winning 29-yard field goal that advanced them in the state playoffs.
“I didn’t expect this one. The line, the line was perfect. The hold was perfect. It was all them. They just let me get it,” Little Rock Central’s junior kicker Harry Wikoff told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“I didn’t think I would get this one. But when I did, I knew what I had to do.”
Strangely enough, this isn’t just a high school trend. It happens in the ACC, too. A few weeks ago, Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper spiked the ball on his own 18-yard-line on fourth down to end a game, as the Orange were trailing Rutgers 36-29.
“If you’re going to go on fourth down, you’re going to have to throw the ball. Nobody wants to spike it on fourth down,” said Syracuse coach Dino Babers after the game.
“So everyone wants to talk about the last play, but last time I checked there were like 70 plays on offense and 70 plays on defense. There were 140 snaps in that game. All of them were important.”
One play can totally win or lose you a game, which is why Syracuse lost. And as we’ve seen here, there’s evidence to prove it.