The Big Game – Part 2 of 3

“Let’s run Pass 18, on two,” said Ian Thomas, pointing toward Jackson Shepherd. “And Jackson, run the Out, Okay? We’ve only got 16 seconds left!”

    In American Rules Football the Out Pattern meant Jackson would run about 10 or 15 yards straight downfield, then quickly turn outward and sprint toward the sideline. The purpose of the play was for Jackson to catch the pass from Ian, gain some much-needed yardage, then hurry out of bounds to stop the clock.

    “On two. On two, ready,” called Ian.

“BREAK!” yelled the team, breaking the huddle and hustling to the line of scrimmage.

Ian began scanning the defense. He observed Rodney, inching toward the end of the defensive line. From past experience Ian knew Rodney was going to blitz.

    A blitz meant instead of covering a receiver, Rodney was going to rush Ian. Rodney hoped no one would block him, allowing him to tackle Ian before he threw the ball to Jackson.

“Hey, Dak,” whispered Ian, cupping his hands around his mouth, “Rodney’s all yours.”

“I got him,” big Dak replied, wiggling his eyebrows and smiling at the thought of knocking Rodney to his backside.

“Ready. Set. Hutt! Hutt!” yelled Ian.

As Dak snapped the ball to Ian, a chorus of deep growls and grunts filled the air. Dirt exploded upward from the ground as the two opposing lines of bruised and battered children crashed into one another. Dak, immediately turned and threw his body in front of the blitzing Rodney, knocking him to his backside as planned. Ian took three quick steps backwards and watched as Jackson blazed down the field. Jackson Shepherd made his sharp outward cut, glancing back as Ian rocketed the football toward the sideline.

The timing between the two players was perfect. The ball hit Jackson directly in his hands, just as he scurried out of bounds and stopped the clock. Cheers erupted from the field and sidelines!

“The catch is good!” shouted the referee, hobbling toward the sideline and marking the new position of the ball with his foot, while steadying himself with his thick walking cane. “We have nine seconds remaining and it’s first down from the 36-yard line!”

“Huddle up!” bellowed Dak, now with blood streaming down his arm from the hard impact with Rodney.

“Sweet catch, Jack!” exclaimed Ian, slapping Jackson on the back and rubbing his head.

“Not too bad, if I do say so myself,” said Jackson, beaming ear to ear while showcasing his best dab – by far, his favorite celebratory move.

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