December 20, 2011
Sometimes the best plays in the course of a football season get swept under the rug, lost amidst coaches' demands for game tape only to be resurrected after the season is complete. Often those plays are rather routine efforts, earning little more than a pat on the back of the player who stood out most. That's definitely not the case with the highlight catch below.
You won't see many grabs better than the one pulled in by Boston (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols School receiver Chad Kohler during the Knights' victory against Independent School League rival Needham (Mass.) St. Sebastian's School during the 2011 season. Kohler, who is also a varsity basketball player for BB&N, went up for a pass from quarterback Nick DiChiara in thick double coverage by a pair of St. Sebastian's secondary starters.
Kohler was the player who first got his hand on the pass, but he couldn't bring it down cleanly. Instead, he did just enough to keep the ball alive as he fell into the end zone and then pulled in one of the more magical reflex catches you'll ever see.
First, the wide out tracked the ball with his peripheral vision as it passed by the left side of his helmet. As he fell backward toward the turf, Kohler was left with his just left hand to gather the still-live pass, with his right hand needed to cushion his impact with the ground. The ball continued to move downward, at one point appearing to be completely beyond the receiver, and seemingly outside of his grasp.
That's when Kohler's momentum kicked in, with the receiver falling flat on his back and leaving his left palm out to try and keep the ball from landing incomplete. Incredibly, the football hit his hand, bounced back up directly into Kohler's field of view, and was corralled by the wide out as he lie in the end zone.
Such a catch would count as one of the season's best under any circumstances, but the magnitude of the touchdown Kohler scored made it even more special; the star's grab eventually proved to be the game-winner for BB&N, with St. Sebastian's putting together a furious rally to pull within 31-28 before eventually capitulating. With the game played at Harvard Stadium, the historic setting clearly added to the catch's atmosphere, too.
Of course, even without those factors, Kohler's grab would be a memorable one for the wide receiver and his teammates … and likely the St. Sebastian's defenders who were left wide-eyed by his stunning grab.
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