When the Illinois state football playoffs kicked off, one thing seemed certain: Rockford (Ill.) Boylan High would be in the conversation for a third consecutive Class 7A state title. Then it met Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick High in the second round, and all those predictions went out the window.
With 10 seconds remaining, Boylan's run of state crowns appeared to be over. Fenwick had just run down the clock on a final possession and was a punt and, in all likelihood, one final Hail Mary defense away from landing a major upset and advancing to the third round. That's when the return you see above happened, with Boylan star Peter Cimino returning the ensuing punt for 90 yards to the end zone, scoring after deftly avoiding a knee touch and a host of tacklers.
As he stepped into the end zone, there was no time on the clock. As noted by USA Today, two heretofore unknown prep football radio announcers were simultaneously in the process of bursting a blood vessel in their brains after completely freaking out about the final play.
"Do you believe in miracles?"
"YES. YES I DO!"
Luckily for both the energetic commentators, they were just moments away from another prime opportunity to completely lose their minds about a game-changing play. Rather than kick the extra point that would tie the game, Boylan lined up for two to win the game. The resulting play call was disappointingly perfunctory (what, no wedding bouquet pass?) but ultimately successful, handing Boylan a stunning 22-21, come-from-behind victory.
Cue the radio histrionics.
"THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING COMEBACK I HAVE EVER SEEN!"
Maybe he missed the Music City Miracle, or The Play?
No matter. In fairness, the radio highlights only add to the excitement about a comeback which really was pretty remarkable. No one could have predicted an eight-point swing with no time remaining on the clock, let alone one that was sparked by a return from the player who had previously been his team's goat in the game; Cimino fumbled a third-quarter kickoff which directly led to a Fenwick touchdown.
And, as it turns out, the Boylan radio team wasn't the only media crew in rapture about the final play. Another pair, which you can hear in the slightly clearer video of the play directly above, dubbed the final two-point conversion attempt "The biggest high school football play I've ever seen."
Regardless of overall import, the successful conversion capped a truly remarkable comeback, and two pieces of radio commentary which might be even more extraordinary. That makes the conclusion three times the fun for everyone, unless you happen to be a Fenwick player or fan.
- Sports & Recreation