The game was over. All Remus (Mich.) Chippewa Hills High's football team needed to do to move on to the second round of the Michigan state playoffs was to line up in the victory formation, take a knee and run out the clock. After all, they call it the victory formation for a reason.
Instead, the Warriors decided to run the ball against Alma (Mich.) High's stingy defense as a final statement with just 40 seconds remaining in what should have been a 20-16 victory. As the Central Michigan Morning Sun reported, that turned out to be a very unwise decision.
You can see full video highlights of the first-round game right here to see what happened, but suffice to say that Chippewa Hills will now be watching the remainder of the playoffs from the stands instead of the sidelines.
"That was a crazy finish, I don't even really have any words for it," Alma coach Jeff Ingersoll told the Morning Sun. "We were out of timeouts and thought they were going to take a knee. I guess we were lucky that they didn't. Just shows that a game is never over."
When Chippewa Hills handed off the ball one final time, on a first down with half a minute remaining and Alma without a timeout, an Alma defender stripped the football, which was subsequently recovered by teammate Mitch Mott at the Chippewa Hills 40-yard line with 25 seconds to go.
Two plays later -- the second a pinpoint perfect 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Vinny Costanza to wide receiver Caden Kipp -- Alma was in the end zone, celebrating the least likely 23-20 victory most anyone has seen in recent years.
"This is the hardest loss to take in my time here," Chippewa Hills coach Larry Jose told the Morning Sun. "Our kids played so well all game, both offensively and defensively. I thought our running back was down on the fumble call, but apparently he wasn't. It's tough for all these kids because they deserved to win this one."
Perhaps the Warriors deserved to win the game, but they didn't, thanks entirely to one very questionable call when the game was practically already over.
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