The fates of elementary school football can be fickle, as two teams in Memphis discovered when what appeared to be a triumphant interception on a game's final play turned into a game-losing fumble thanks to a wild celebration that got started before a referee blew the game's final whistle.
As uploaded to YouTube by the Memphis-area video production company Sunday Productions, the video you see above documents the closing moments of a fifth-grade game between Memphis (Tenn.) Briarcrest Christian School and Memphis (Tenn.) Presbyterian Day School. The two parochial rivals compete against each other at all different levels, and a win for one side against the other, even in the fifth grade, is always a feather in a team or athlete's cap.
In the 2012 edition of the elementary school face-off between the two schools, it appeared that feathered cap would be worn by Briarcrest after it scored a late touchdown, leaving fewer than 10 seconds remaining. After the subsequent squibbed kickoff, PDS took over with just two seconds on the clock, enough time for one last heave toward the end zone.
On the final snap, the PDS quarterback dropped back and heaved the ball as far as his fifth-grade arm could get it, but his pass landed right in the breadbasket of a Briarcrest defensive back. By all accounts the game should have been over.
Yet it wasn't over because the defensive back who thought he had just become a hero began celebrating too early. In a nearly fluid motion, as soon as he had pulled in the interception, the defensive back dropped the ball so he could celebrate the victory with his team. Of course, the referee had never blown a whistle, so the ball laying on the ground was still live.
After a couple idle seconds a clever PDS player realized that he hadn't heard a whistle, scooped up the live ball and trotted into the end zone, instantly transforming a two-point loss into a shocking four-point victory.
Naturally, the game-turning fumble recovery touchdown provided the harshest possible lesson on why players need to compete to the whistle. Still, it seems unlikely that either set of youngsters will forget the wild finish to the 2012 face-off anytime soon, or the lesson that they all learned from it.
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