What does a top defensive lineman do when his helmet gets loose while he's sprinting after an opposing quarterback? He takes it off and keeps on running, of course.
As filmed by Big County Preps, Trenton High (Trenton, Fla.) defensive tackle Josh Mathis intentionally jettisoned his protective headgear during Friday’s Class A state title victory against Blountstown High (Blountstown, Fla.). With just seconds remaining in Trenton’s 14-0 win, the freshman defensive lineman was trying to reach Blountstown quarterback Dylan Lee in the backfield.
As he chased after Lee, Mathis’ helmet began to bother him, so he decided that he was better off without it. In one smooth motion, Mathis flung off the helmet and intensified his pursuit.
He couldn’t get to Lee quite in time, with the quarterback intentionally wasting a pass to avoid a sack. Still, there’s little question that Mathis’ pressure was behind that forced pass, and perhaps the lighter load above his shoulders played some part in the Trenton star’s speed.
Of course, as noted by USA Today, it's questionable whether Mathis should have even been allowed to continue playing without the traditional lid. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rule book stipulates that any player who loses his or her helmet in the middle of a down is required to stop competing beyond the immediate action in which he or she is engaged (it's questionable whether Mathis' play would have violated this clause). The player is also required to sit out the following down.
Mathis skipped the game’s last play after walking to the sideline with his helmet in his hands. From there it was celebration time for Mathis and his teammates, as well as Lee. After all, the Blountstown quarterback was surely happy he wasn’t run over by Mathis on the penultimate play of his season.
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