There are plenty of ways to win a game in the final minute, but none may be rarer than the one employed by Miami (Fla.) Belen Jesuit Prep on Friday. Trailing traditional powerhouse Miami (Fla.) Northwestern High 28-27 with less than 30 seconds remaining, Belen fielded a punt at the Northwestern 39-yard line.
That's when things got interesting. According to the Miami Herald, rather than take a few shots down the field, Belen coach Rich Stuart made one of the rarest calls in all of football: He had his team attempt a free kick.
"It's unusual, but it is completely legal," Greater Miami Athletic Conference head of football officials Joe Underwood told the Herald. "It is a free kick that can be taken following a fair catch, and it doesn't matter if it is off a kicking tee or not."
Hardly ever used outside of high school football (you can see former Arizona Cardinals turned Houston Texans kicker Neil Rackers attempt a free kick -- and miss horribly -- in an NFL game here), a free kick allows a team to attempt a field goal off a tee or held by a holder, just like a kickoff, after it fair catches a punt. Only the opposing team can return a miss (since a block is made impossible) and the opposing team must stand a full 10 yards away from the line of scrimmage. The kick is worth three points, just as any other field goal is.
For Belen's kick, the placing at the 39-yard line made the free kick a 49-yard attempt by placekicker Sergio Sroka, who had missed a potential go-ahead field goal just moments before.
This time Sroka drilled the kick, giving the Wolverines an unlikely 30-28 lead, an edge which was padded by an interception return for a touchdown by Michael Ugarte to complete the 36-28 final score.
You can see video of Sroka's kick directly below.