Last week, the website Complex.com compiled a list of the 50 greatest football trick plays of all time. While we felt obligated to applaud a noble idea, we were also a bit miffed both by their definition of a trick play -- desperation laterals with no time on the clock don't really strike us as "trick" plays -- and the fact that the list only used six prep sports trick plays. Not to spoil the entire list for you, but our first reaction was, "Where is the Driscoll Middle School play?" If that isn't a glaring omission, we don't know what a great trick play really is.
Prep sport imbalance not withstanding, we respected the six they chose, and figured we'd be remiss if we didn't highlight them here with a bit more back story behind each one.
• No. 49: This play from a "Termite league" football game always makes some watchers' stomachs turn, mostly because of the involvement of the coach on the sideline, calling for the ball to be exchanged. Hey, if you're going to run a perfect "wrong ball" trick play, you've got to hurt some feelings. The better question might be whether it's worth hurting the feelings of kids playing in a "Termite league" game to run a brilliant trick play. You decide. Admittedly, the "Watch him Cooper!" call is one of the great sideline exclamations of all-time ...
• No. 35: The Mountain View (Ariz.) Toros took advantage of a defensive back looking for a screen on this fantastic trick play, where quarterback Brad Heap used a rarely seen bounce pass to get the ball to receiver Baeu Stapley, who sent a pass of his own downfield to a wide-open D.J. Geroux. The touchdown was just one of a handful of impressive scores in a 36-0 Mountain View win, but its hard not to wonder how it could be ranked so low in a list of 50. No. 35? Really? A bounce pass-receiver TD toss is only the 35th best trick play of all time? We're skeptical.
• No. 25: The 2007 Kanawha City (W.Va.) Colts of the Kanawha Midget League pulled this crazy direct snap play out of their bag on a fourth-and-3 in their own territory. In fairness, we're not quite sure why the defense didn't sniff things out a little better. There wasn't really a swing to that gate, it just started to the left and stayed that way.
• No. 16: To give Complex some credit, it nailed the most special part of the Irving (Texas) High JV team's fake punts: How did opponents not see it coming? Granted, it takes a heck of a gutsy long snapper, but it's almost as if no JV opponents watched any of the Tigers' previous games on tape at all. Unbelievable.
• No. 9: In 1997, plenty of the NFL trick plays on the Complex list were just a glint in some dorky coach's eye, but Flinthills (Kan.) High coach Brian Spencer had already cooked up this hidden ball trick with quarterback Daniel Scribner. On the play against fellow eight-man team Elk River, Scribner had a loud chat with center Tylan Hall, concluding that the game ball shouldn't be used in the game. Then, when he walked to the sideline to exchange it with another, he turned and sprinted upfield. Yes, it's remarkably similar to the "Termite league" play back at No. 49, but it does need to be noted that both Scribner and his defenders were a lot faster ... and the stakes were a bit higher, too.
• No. 5: Central (La.) High's famous behind-the-back two-point conversion from quarterback Will Briscoe against Zachary (La.) High last fall deserves to be on the list, but we're not sure it's No. 5. Big bonus points for execution, for sure, but No. 5?