Those who do the work, and those who take the credit…
There were two minutes left to play and we were ahead of the Salmon High School Savages by the score of 14-12. It was third down and twenty-two yards to go. We were backed up on our own ten yard line.
I did not want to pass the ball or run a screen. They would be looking for that. I also did not want to be punting out of our own end zone and giving them the ball on the thirty, if we were lucky. Not to mention the possibility of a blocked punt. To be honest, I did not know what to do. So I called a time out.
Back then, the coach could run onto the field in Idaho during a time out. Maybe they still can, I do not know. Anyway, my team was in the huddle and as I looked into their eyes, they were staring back at me, waiting for the call. Instead, what they got was, “Uh, Uh, Uh.” I then called another time out.
It was then that our right tackle, Tim Johnson, said, “Coach, run the 43 Counter.”
I promptly told him, “Shut-up Johnson. I’m the coach and I make the calls around here.”
I then started thinking it over. It was like my whole life flashed in front of me. You see, I was also the school counselor and I had access to all the school records. Transcripts, test scores, everything.
I knew Johnson had a perfect 4.0 GPA. I knew he scored 1560 on the SAT. I knew he was a National Merit Finalist. I knew he wanted to be a Chemical Engineer. I also knew my own academic record. I then called the play, “Slot Right, 43 Counter.”
Our quarterback took the snap, reversed out, and faked the 26 Power to the tailback. He then made the inside handoff to our 5’5” slotback, Eric Strand. The defense did not see Strand and he ran for twenty-three yards.
“FIRST DOWN,” yelled the referee.
Back on the sidelines, I watched the clock run down. The crowd was yelling, “NICE CALL COACH – NICE CALL COACH!”
I just turned and waved to the crowd. Lesson Learned: I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.