California team pulls off its own ‘wedding bouquet’ pass to win game with no time on the clock

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It didn't take long for the nation to take notice of the "wedding bouquet" pass and the misdirection it can bring to a game. Now, just days after it was used to tie a game, the same play has been used to win another matchup in California.

The game-winning pass in question also came on a two-point conversion, but this time came in an even more stunning set of circumstances. With no time on the clock, all Oakmont (Calif.) High needed to do to tie the phenomenally named Lincoln (Calif.) Fighting Zebras was to hit an extra point. Oakmont lined up for the extra point, but on the snap the team's holder, quarterback Taylor Laird, stood up with the football and appeared to set up a "Statue of Liberty"-style trick play that could have included a handoff to the holder.

That first feint appeared to work, with the Lincoln defenders who caught on to Laird's move rushing toward the line of scrimmage to shut off a running attempt. That's when Laird attempted a "wedding bouquet" pass of his own, flinging the ball overhead with his back turned to the goal line.

And, just as it did in Washington, the crazy play call worked, with Oakmont receiver Justin Holmes bringing in the pass to seal a dramatic comeback that concluded with a 44-43 Oakmont victory.

"We knew we couldn't go to overtime against that offense," Oakmont head coach Tim Moore told the Lincoln News Messenger. "We practiced that play over and over again … it works every time."

Why this play works any time -- let alone every time -- is anyone's guess. Objectively, wedding bouquet-style passes would seem to hold some of the shortest odds of succeeding; the play eliminates the quarterback's ability to see his receiver, it involves an unnatural throwing motion and it requires a receiver to simply out-leap and out-muscle any defenders around him. Even if all of those considerations come through, the play still only works if the ball actually follows its desired trajectory.

Despite those long odds, the play has been used twice in the span of a week, both times on two point conversions with the game on the line.  At the rate we're going, the bouquet pass will be an established part of most high school playbooks by December, Boise State will be integrating it into its red zone offense and everyone will forget that there was a time when this play had never been seen.

Throughout it all, the play will continue to make little statistical or logical sense, yet it may continue to work out all the same. After all, so far it's 2-for-2.

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