Oregon coach follows Belichick’s lead, lets foe score to get ball back, nearly pulls off comeback

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Remember when the Patriots allowed the Giants to score late in the Super Bowl so they could get the ball back and launch one final attempt to score? The move didn't work, though it nearly became yet another coup for Patriots coach Bill Belichick's claims of tactical genius. Well, one Oregon coach certainly remembered, and his team's comeback attempt did better than the one launched by Tom Brady even if it, too, eventually proved unsuccessful.

Manu Rasmussen scores an uncontested touchdown which nearly cost his Tigard team a playoff win — The Oregonian
Manu Rasmussen scores an uncontested touchdown which nearly cost his Tigard team a playoff win — The Oregonian

As reported by the Oregonian, Central Catholic (Ore.) High allowed Tigard (Ore.) High running back Manu Rassmussen to trot unfettered into the end zone with Tigard leading 35-34 late in the schools' Class 6A quarterfinal matchup. The touchdown padded Tigard's lead to 41-34, with a subsequent two-point conversion padding Tigard's edge to an unassailable nine points.

"We took a timeout, and I went out there and told the guys, 'We've got to let them score,'" Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne told the Oregonian. "We had to get the ball back. You can't score without the ball."

In fact, it was that two-point conversion that ultimately proved to be the crushing blow for Central Catholic. After allowing Tigard to score with 1:46 remaining, Central Catholic marched down the field one final time. Yet, needing two scores to win, Central settled for a field goal, cutting the lead to 43-37, with the following kickoff recovered by Tigard to all but end the game.

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For his part, Tigard coach Craig Ruecker "tipped his hat" to the Central Catholic coaching staff for their innovative approach to mounting a comeback, even if it eventually came up short. While it may not have proven successful on the scoreboard, Central's last ditch comeback did succeed in raising the Tigard coach's blood pressure.

"[The brief seven-point lead was] a terribly uncomfortable position [to be in]," Ruecker told the Oregonian.

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