All night, Ravenna (Ohio) High quarterback Tate Bennett had been off his game. The quarterback finished just 9 for 19 through the air for a grand total of 88 yards. He was also intercepted twice by the Field (Ohio) High defense. In short, he had a truly forgettable game.
Yet, when his career ends, a play from Ravenna's stunning, come-from-behind, 15-14 victory will almost certainly stand out as his most memorable, as Bennett completed a behind-the-back, over-the-head, desperation pass in the end zone with just 39 seconds remaining in the game.
As you can see in the video from TV2 Kent State University above, the pass was caught for a game-winning touchdown by sophomore Warren Bradley, sending the Ravenna sideline into delirium and the Field players -- who thought they had pinned Bennett down for an almost certainly game-ending sack -- loitering stunned on a field of bedlam.
"I just threw the ball into the end zone -- I had no idea where it was going to go," Bennett told the Portage County Record Pub. "I just really was hoping that someone would make a play."
That someone was Bradley, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The running back made his way to the center of the end zone and Bennett's "miracle final play" happened to land right in his hands.
One of the announcers dubbed Bennett's aerial touchdown a "wedding bouquet pass," which isn't quite fair, though it speaks volumes about how widespread terminology coined following Tumwater (Wash.) High's now famous two-point conversion has become.
To wit, the wedding bouquet passes thrown by Tumwater quarterback Jayden Croft and Oakmont (Calif.) quarterback Tyler Laird were both clearly intentional. Crazy though they were, both plays were drawn up that way on the chalkboard by the wild and zany coaches who dreamed them up.
That wasn't the case with the miraculous Bennett-to-Bradley connection, which was pure spur of the moment invention on the part of a desperate quarterback just trying to avoid a game-ending sack.
Nomenclature aside, the winning Ravena pass was every bit as impressive as the ones turned in out on the West Coast, even leaving both coaches virtually speechless after the postgame handshake lines. While Ravenna head coach Jim Lunardi went to great lengths to praise both his team and its Field opponents, Field coach Matt Furino went even further to praise his team's effort.
"I just can't say enough good things for how our team played on defense tonight and the job [defensive coordinator] George Wetzel did coaching these kids," Furino told the Record Pub. "Even on that last play, they made the perfect call and the kids played perfectly and brought the QB down -- you just can't plan for what ended up happening."
Furino is right. You really can't plan for that, even in a post-"wedding bouquet pass" world, all of which makes the game-winning play even more miraculous.
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