Canadian football team scores TD by bizarrely returning a punt with a punt

Cameron Smith
November 15, 2012

Just when Prep Rally thinks it's seen every trick play in the book, it remembers that Canadians play football, too, and they do so a little bit differently. Enter the remarkable trick punt return touchdown you see below, which is more of a punt of a punt than it is a return.

If you aren't well acclimated to Canadian football rules, don't worry, we're here to explain why the play you see above was perfectly legal in the Winnipeg High School Football League and not completely bonkers.

Unlike American football, Canadian football holds that once a punt travels more than 10 yards downfield, the kicking team can recover the free ball and regain possession. In this way, Canadian punts are essentially just like American kickoffs.

However, in a nod to rugby, Canadian football holds that on scrimmage kicks (i.e., punts and missed field goals), the returning team can respond by immediately punting the ball back to the other team, creating a free-for-all where whichever team gets to the ball first will retain possession. It's a strange rule, but hardly the only unique twist in Canadian football, as a two-point blocked return also showed during last weekend's CFL playoffs, as detailed by Yahoo! Canada's 55 Yard Line blog.

[Also: Brian Kelly ready to 'go on Oprah' to plead Notre Dame's BCS case]

You can get more details about the difference between scrimmage kicks in the two forms of "gridiron" football right here.

Cue the wild scene in the video above, where the Winnipeg (Manitoba) Kelvin High squad was facing off against a Winnipeg High School Football League foe, preparing to receive a punt. The booming kick came in on cue, with a deep Kelvin receiver pulling it in. Everyone expected the return to start at that point — after all, nearly all punts are returned in the conventional fashion in Canada, too, as no one wants to throw away a possession with the other team holding a numerical advantage of players on the other side of the field.

Yet the Kelvin coaching staff thought differently, instructing the receiving player to immediately boom the ball down to the other side of the field, creating a mad, harried dash for the ball which culminated in a rather remarkable touchdown.

Was the play bizarre? Absolutely. Illegal? Not in the slightest. And that's what makes Canadian football oh so wacky … and fun. If nothing else, it's certainly a breeding ground for remarkably inventive trick plays. Just ask the Winnipeg High School Football League.

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