Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hayden Edges Shawnee Heights on Last-Second 46-Yard Field Goal

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hayden Edges Shawnee Heights on Last-Second 46-Yard Field Goal

Article excerpt

The ball was at the 29. Just over 90 seconds remained.

After allowing a game-tying field goal moments earlier, the Hayden Wildcats stood 71 yards away from the end zone, 71 yards away from the game-tying score. They broke out of the huddle and opted to run on their first play, seemingly content to test their luck in overtime.

"Honestly, I was probably playing for overtime as much as I was just making sure I didn't give them an opportunity to get the ball back," Hayden coach Bill Arnold said with a chuckle, following the Wildcats' 23-20 last-second win over Shawnee Heights.

After six consecutive runs -- and consequentially two timeouts -- the scenario had changed. The Wildcats stood at midfield and continued to move the ball, getting all the way down to the 30-yard line with one second left.

Arnold had two options: send his quarterback out and go for a Hail Mary, or ask his kicker to try and convert from 46.

He didn't hesitate, sending kicker Patrick Ellrich onto the field after using his final timeout.

"Oh we were going to kick. Pat has got a good leg. You have to give yourself a shot," Arnold said. "The snap was good, the block was good and the kick was good."

The sideline erupted. The visitors jumped up and down, surrounding Ellrich. The elation was made that much greater knowing how close they were to not only overtime, but defeat.

In a wild contest, the Wildcats (2-4, 2-4 Centennial League) actually trailed 17-7 going into the fourth quarter.

After giving up a 48-yard touchdown run to Shawnee Heights running back Christian Clark -- which at the time appeared to be the knockout punch -- the visitors quickly responded, marching down the field and pulling within three as quarterback Sampson Huston found wide receiver Deshawn Hanika for a 5-yard score.

After a stop, the Wildcats were in business again. Running back Andrew Smith found space down the left sideline, scampering in for a 26-yard touchdown to pull the visitors even. But Smith slowed down before crossing the plane, causing the referee to flag him for unsportsmanlike conduct.

His coach disagreed with the call, saying he felt Smith was only trying to run time off the clock. …

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