I was a prolific downfield blocking wide receiver in high school. By my count, my blocking was responsible for over 5,000 yards rushing and 75+ touchdowns in my three-year career. If touchdowns were an equitable endeavor, I would be remembered as one of the most prolific scorers in Georgia High School Football history. Sadly, we live in a society that values carrying a ball across a line more than inflicting physical destruction on opposing defenses. For my career, I had 12 receptions for 97 yards and 1 touchdown. This is the story of that one glorious score.
It was a clear and crisp night in late October, 1996. We were playing our main rival in front of a sold-out home crowd. Early in the fourth quarter, we were losing 24-17. But we were driving deep in the opponent’s territory and facing a third and goal from the five-yard line. Coach called timeout and summoned us to the sideline.
He explained that we would be running Bubble Screen Right, which would put me right in the center of the action. There would be two receivers to the right—I would be out wide, and Jeremy Evans would be in the slot. I hated Jeremy. He was one of those overenthusiastic, clean-cut, Fellowship of Christian Athletes types with a permanent smile on his face. He loved telling people that he “didn’t need alcohol to have a good time.” Worse yet, he was a National Honor Society member and received a full academic scholarship to Davidson, a school I’d literally never heard of until Steph Curry came along, so you know it sucks. Jeremy’s now president of a local bank and mentors “at-risk” kids. It’s really pathetic.
Bubble Screen Right was a simple concept. The quarterback would throw a bubble screen to Jeremy. I would, of course, obliterate the cornerback covering me with a devastating downfield block. Jeremy—who I’ll admit was fast—would then use his speed to outrun the safety to the pylon and score. We’d run the play successfully several times that season.
But when we lined up, I saw that a linebacker whom I’d previously knocked out of the game with a “borderline” block to the back of his knees had returned to the game. Who the hell did this guy think he was? If I knocked you out of a game with a devastating downfield block (something I did to dozens of high school football players), the best approach was to thank God you weren’t in the hospital and stay on the sidelines. But this asshole thought he could come back out on my field and act like everything was normal? It was an affront I couldn’t let go without retribution.
The linebacker lined up directly across from Jeremy, so I had a clear lane to drop a thermonuclear block on him. Blocking the linebacker was completely unecessary, though, because Jeremy could easily outrun him and just needed me to clear out the cornerback. But when the ball was snapped, pure instinct took over. I abandoned the cornerback and started running toward the linebacker. As I approached the him, I launched myself in the air and prepared to spear him in his ear hole with the crown of my helmet—a block I’d executed to perfection countless times.
Unfortunately, I collided with Jeremy instead, causing him to fumble the ball forward into the end zone. I saw the ball laying untouched in the endzone and realized it was my chance for glory. As I got off the ground and ran toward the ball, I saw that an opposing safety was going to beat me there. But as always, I had an ace up my sleeve. Though it was illegal, I always wore metal baseball spikes rather than football cleats, precisely for moments like this. I executed a classic “take out” slide on the opposing safety with my spikes up, hyperextending his left knee and knocking him to the ground before he could recover the fumble. I immediately pounced on the ball.
After the referee signaled the touchdown, I ran over to the safety—who was grabbing his knee and writhing in agony on the ground—and pretended to take a dump on his head with the football. That drew a flag.
I then raced over to the track in front of the home stands and moonwalked all the way down to our bench to a raucous standing ovation, which drew another flag. When the offense returned to the sideline, I strode over to Jeremy and said, “you’re welcome” with a determined look on my face.
Due to my penalties, we were forced to kick our extra point from the thirty-three yard line. Our kicker missed, and we lost 24-23.