When Mount Pleasant High (Providence, R.I.) faced off against East Greenwich High (East Greenwich, R.I.), Mount Pleasant coach Paul Rao thought his team had a strong chance of emerging with a victory. The Kilties entered with a 5-0 record, 4-0 in the state's Division III competition, and Rao felt that his star running back, Randolph Zleh, could take advantage of East Greenwich's defense.
That's precisely what happened in a 46-0 Mount Pleasant rout, though even Rao couldn't have anticipated what Zleh accomplished on the play you see directly above, which took more than a week to come to light on YouTube.
As reported by the Providence Journal, Mount Pleasant led 14-0 with three seconds remaining in the first half. The Kilties had the ball on their own 32 yard line, and Rao called a fairly conventional and conservative final play, a short screen pass to Zleh up the middle as East Greenwich brought a jailhouse blitz.
What unfolded next was a testament to Zleh's vision and athleticism, and an absolute clinic in avoiding tackles. Here's how the Journal recalled the play after seeing it live:
As Zleh started heading up the middle of the field, the clock had expired, but Zleh wasn’t finished. He encountered a couple of East Greenwich defenders at midfield, but he cut to the right and past a few defenders while going down the right sideline.
At about the East Greenwich 35-yard line, there were a couple of more defenders in front of him. So he reversed direction again and headed across the field to the left sideline where he continued toward the end zone.
When he saw he wasn’t going to make it into the end on the left side, he reversed direction again, raced across the field once again and this time went past — and through — a few East Greenwich defenders on his way into the end zone.
In all, the junior running back broke or slipped eight tackles and covered the entire field. The play lasted more than 30 seconds by the time Zleh reached the end zone. No matter. It could have dragged on for another 30 seconds and the junior still likely would have hit pay dirt thanks to his sheer determination.
"I was getting tired, but you never stop running if you have a chance," Zleh told the Journal.
By game's end, Zleh had racked up four touchdowns, though none were as memorable or impressive as the one he earned just before halftime.
"You never know what he is going to do when he has the football," Rao told the Journal. "He's amazing."
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