Posts Tagged ‘Pearland Oilers Trick Play’

About That Pearland Oilers Trick Play

December 19, 2010

First of all, roll out the congratulations this morning to the Pearland Oilers high school varsity football program. Last night up in Arlington and Jerry Jones’s Cowboy Stadium, the Oilers defeated the Euless Trinity Trojans, the defensing state champions and currently ranked “best high school team in the nation,” to take the 5A Division I Texas state championship by the eke-out score of 28-24.

Pearland did it with heart, talent, and a dose of trickery that even fooled Fox Sports, the network that ostensibly was handling the telecast of the game state-wide. As it turned out, Fox got almost all of it on live camera. They missed about 15 critical seconds in the third quarter, so thank God for replay capacity. Even with replay, it still left me feeling slightly cheated.

No doubt the DVD of this game will serve Fox as a tutorial for all new and some current game action directors on what not to do in the interest of absorbing colorful sideline stories into the coverage. You never know during those lull parts of a game when something may happen you’ve never seen before – and may never see again. And that’s exactly what happened last night. In a play that came off as a trick sleeper play, the Oilers of Pearland scored a touchdown that eventually proved to be the difference between the disappointment of defeat and the joy of a state crown on they eventually rode on the back of a perfect 16-0 season record.

With a little less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, and leading 14-10, Pearland was driving, with a first down on their own 46 yard line. That’s when Fox cut to the stands for a report on why certain male Euless Trinity students had decided to go shirtless and paint their chests patronizingly on the occasion of this cold weather game. (DUH, FOX! It was indoors! They’re adolescent males! What do you expect them to do, act like mature adult FOX executives? And where was all your journalistic training about story line in that director’s apparent (i.e., “Dog Bites Man = no story. Man bites dog = story.) Had they been female students doing the same thing, you might have had a shocking sideline sidebar piece, but you had nothing there in these typically adolescent young men to justify missing one of those once in a lifetime plays that hardly ever happen,

Here’s what we missed. It’s better told with pictures here. Sorry that I have no way to run it as a video clip, but just catch your local news today – and YouTube by no later than tonight. The action view should be all over the world by then:

Above Photo: Pearland (in white) center Derek Hoffpauir snaps the ball to QB Trey Anderson. Receiver Sam Ukwuachu is in motion off-camera, lower left, but all other Pearland players are perfectly still. Taking their cue from the still guys, ten of the Euless Trinity defenders just stand there too. The only defender to figure it out early is the back covering Ukwuachu. He goes in motion to guard against what’s to come, but he has no help.

Above Photo: Pearland QB Anderson lulls the time away, just giving his receiver the time he needs to get down the field and past the lone defender. Meanwhile, the Euless Trinity boys mostly just stand around too, feeding on the narcotic stillness of the the Pearland magicians. This play is “misdirection” in its most extreme form.

Above Photo: QB Anderson cocks his arm for the calmly calculated launching. In the still of the night, the Euless Trinity players continue to just stand and watch, along with most of their Pearland actor counterparts. By this time, the sight of Anderson’s arms going way back, at least, ┬ámust arouse a thought as singularly simple as this one among some of the Trinity boys: “Wonder what he’s doing?”

Above Photo: Euless Trinity players: “Holy Lost Cause! He’s throwing a forward pass! Wake us when it’s over!”

Above Photo: Pearland wide receiver slips by the lone Euless Trinity defender and prepares to glide under the catch near the 20. He will take it in fully at the 16 and waltz home home easily from there. By now, the rest of the Euless Trinity team is moving, but it is way too little and far too late for the Trojans to prevent disaster. Alarm clocks and snooze buttons are not much help in football either.

Above Photo: The catch comes home and the race is on.

Above Photo: “Bye, Bye, Baby, Goodbye!” Ukwuachu heads for the house and a 20-10 Pearland lead. Officially, the play covers 54 yards at 6:41 left on the clock in the 3rd quarter, but it covers the whole big 5-A championship game with the added art of deception, proving itself ultimately to be the difference-maker we described earlier.

Above Photo: With Pearland becoming the first team to break bread in the end zone on a trick play of all trick plays in the second half, that score you see above you is about to change to Pearland 21 – Euless Trinity 10.

Above Photo: With 6:41 to go in the 3rd quarter, Pearland has taken a 21-10 lead. Each club will score seven points in the fourth quarter, but this play throws all the momentum behind Pearland and, as we are starting to say redundantly, it also transcends as the final difference in scoring. Euless Trinity plays well, but they get a taste of one of life’s most important crueler lessons: Sometimes life isn’t fair and things are not always what they seem. All we can do is stay alert, try to learn from our errors and disappointments, and hope we do better the next time. The same set of lessons are available to the Fox Sports Network.

Above Photo: Here’s a picture of Fox’s live coverage during the precious seconds that the sleeper play is unfolding live. Fox makes up for the brain-freeze with ample opportunities to see the trick again on replay, but even though that’s cool, it still isn’t the same as seeing something in the moment it actually unfolds.

Oh well, nobody’s perfect, Better luck next time, Fox. And you better save this game for your in-house training sessions. Most of the time, you guys do a great job. In fact, everything else came off like clockwork last night. Or so it seemed.