Patience, trickery make for happy St. Al homecoming|[10/02/06]
Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006
Emotional victory puts Flashes in fine shape to reach Class 1A playoffs.
Harris Martin had never thrown a pass before, but when his number was called with the game on the line, he didn’t disappoint.
With one flick of the wrist, and some help from a freshman wide receiver, Martin completed a 29-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play for a 16-15 victory over Noxapater.
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“I think they (Noxapater) were looking all the way for a run,” said Ryno Martin-Nez, the recipient of the memorable pass. “Harris put the ball right on the money.”
Martin added, “We practiced that play all week and we got it to work.”
The play ignited a raucus celebration that carried over into the locker room and then to the homecoming dance.
It also vaulted the Flashes to a 3-1 record in Region 2-1A and moved them closer to a Class 1A state playoff berth.
St. Al trailed 15-6 entering the fourth quarter, and worse yet the visiting Tigers were right in the middle of another long, time-draining drive.
A defensive stop gave the ball back to St. Al and the comeback started.
The Flashes drove 65 yards to set up a 20-yard field goal by Jordan Muirhead that made it 15-9.
The Flashes’ defense then got a break on a Tiger holding penalty that forced a punt, giving the offense the ball back at its own 36 with 4:51 to play.
Down by just six, the Flashes stayed with the run, grinding out a first down to midfield.
Then sophomore quarterback Chris Lewis hit tight end J.R. Burnett for a 13-yard gain to the Noxapater 35 with 2:30 left.
Three run plays got it to the 29, but the Flashes faced a fourth-and-four and set up Martin and Martin-Nez’s heroics.
Fullback Alex Halinski, who finished with 105 yards to pad his county leading totals, credited Taylor and his staff for keeping the team focused.
“The coaches analyzed things right and told us what we needed to do. I just had to bring a sage mentality and turn everything up field,” said Halinksi who had 67 yards in the second half, including a bulldozing 43-yard jaunt.