Punt return TD is the ultimate proof that you always have to play to the whistle

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's been said numerous times before, but it bears repeating: you always have to play to the whistle. This wild punt return touchdown is a true case-in-point.

The sublime touchdown you see above comes from a Tennessee faceoff between Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.), often referred to as BA, and the McCallie School (Chattanooga, Tenn.). McCallie was punting the ball to its rival in the third quarter of what eventually became a 39-16 victory for the BA Beagles, and Brentwood returner Brandon Taylor backed off as if to let the ball be downed around the Beagles' 19-yard-line.

Unfortunately for McCallie, none of its players actually touched the ball dead once it settled just inside the 20 yard line. One McCallie cover player attempted to touch it dead with his foot, but the whistle never blew.

Taylor certainly noticed that the whistle never blew, and he was quickly off to the races. He galloped untouched to the end zone, 81 yards of sheer opportunism that helped pad BA's already sizable lead.

"One of their guys came down and put his foot on top of the ball and walked away, and my coaches were yelling ‘go’, so I picked it up and took it to the house," Taylor told the Tennessean of his touchdown return. "We had them on the ropes, but I think that was the punch in the face that knocked them out."

If nothing else, it reinforced an important lesson for all: Never stop hustling until the whistle blows.

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