Oregon Sports Photos Photography by John Lariviere

7Oct/09Off

A Most Improbable Win

With 50 seconds left in the game, fourth down and four on the 14 yard line, the Hillsboro Spartans lined up for a potential game tying fieldgoal as they trailed the West Albany Bulldogs by three with the score 20-17.  The ball is snapped, Ty Starkman's kick is blocked by West Albany's Jacob White and the Bulldog players head to the sidelines to rejoice with coaches and teammates, as victory is assured due to Starkman's block.  But not so fast.  As jubilation unfolds on the West Albany sidelines, Hillsboro's Zack Hickman picked up the football left laying in the middle of the field and handed it Kyle McLennan who turn and sprinted into the right corner of the endzone.  The West Albany players were too quick to celebrate as they did not realize the ball laying in the middle of the field was still live.  Hickman and McLennan seam to be the only two people in the packed stadium to realize the Bulldog players' error.  Touchdown Hillsboro...game over...right?  Not quite so fast.

In the midst of the chaos and McLennan's run into the endzone, a lone whistle sounded that no one paid any attention to...until after the Spartans were now celebrating in the endzone believing they had remarkably got the jump on the Bulldogs and now lead 23-20 with just over 40 seconds to play.  That whistle turned out to be inadvertently blown by an official who was as unaware as the Bulldogs that the play had yet to be over.  The officiating crew discussed the situation and due to the whistle accidentally being blown, they ordered the down to be replayed.  McLennan's touchdown run was nullified, but the Spartan's still had another chance to tie the game once again as they lined up for another fieldgoal attempt.  Once again, White beat the Hillsboro line for a diving block of Starkman's second attempt.  This time the blocked ball bobbled out-of-bounds allowing the West Albany players to celebrate once again...and the celebration is for real as their three point lead holds for the 20-17 victory.

As the West Albany players begin to celebrate their potential win after blocking Hillsboro's final seconds fieldgoal attempt (photo right), Zack Hickman of Hillsboro hands the live ball to teammate Kyle McLennan who runs the ball into the endzone only to have his run nullified by an inadvertent whistle by the officiating crew.

As the West Albany players begin to celebrate their potential win after blocking Hillsboro's final seconds fieldgoal attempt (photo right), Zack Hickman of Hillsboro hands the live ball to teammate Kyle McLennan who runs the ball into the endzone only to have his run nullified by an inadvertent whistle by the officiating crew (photo left).

Tyler Davis (24) and Anthony LaCoste (28) of West Albany team up to put the stop to Colt Lyerla's run as the Spartan's make their way to the 24 yard line during their final drive of the fourth quarter.

Tyler Davis (24) and Anthony LaCoste (28) of West Albany team up to put the stop to Colt Lyerla's run as the Spartan's make their way to the 24 yard line during their final drive of the fourth quarter.

Colt Lyerla of Hillsboro finds a hole in the line for a five yard gain during the Spartans final drive of the fourth quarter.

Colt Lyerla of Hillsboro finds a hole in the line for a five yard gain during the Spartans final drive of the fourth quarter.

Colt Lyerla of Hillsboro slips past the tackle attempt of West Albany's Tyler Headrick as he rushes for a six yard gain early in the fourth quarter.

Colt Lyerla of Hillsboro slips past the tackle attempt of West Albany's Tyler Headrick as he rushes for a six yard gain early in the fourth quarter.

Anthony LaCoste of West Albany puts a move on Hillsboro's Ryan Strong as he breaks free for a 27 yard gain late in the third quarter.

Anthony LaCoste of West Albany puts a move on Hillsboro's Ryan Strong as he breaks free for a 27 yard gain late in the third quarter.

Anthony LaCoste of West Albany flies by the Hillsboro defensive line on his way to a 22 yard gain in the first quarter for first and goal-to-go at the Hillsboro seven yard line.

Anthony LaCoste of West Albany flies by the Hillsboro defensive line on his way to a 22 yard gain in the first quarter for first and goal-to-go at the Hillsboro seven yard line.

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