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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&#8220I think they (Noxapater) were looking all the way for a run,” said Ryno Martin-Nez, the recipient of the memorable pass. &#8220Harris put the ball right on the money.”

Martin added, &#8220We 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.

&#8220The 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.