What's Buzzing:

Prep Rally

Top RB stops 1 yard short of end zone to set up touching TD tribute for grieving teammate

Prep Rally

When Michael Ferns was racing toward the end zone, the Clairsville (Ohio) St. Clairsville High star had nothing in front of him but green grass and glory. He was seemingly seconds away from scoring his 12th touchdown of the season and wrapping up a victory for St. Clairsville against area rival Richmond (Ohio) Edison High.

View gallery

.
St. Clairsville players Logan Thompson and Michael Ferns embrace following Thompson's emotional touchdown — USA Today/Gannett Media

St. Clairsville players Logan Thompson and Michael Ferns embrace following Thompson's emotional touchdown — USA …

Then, just feet short of the goal line, Ferns slowed and walked out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Everyone in the stadium was stunned, except for Ferns' teammates, who instantly knew what he was doing: He was setting up a teammate to score a fitting touchdown in memory of his late father, who had died just two days earlier from a catastrophic stroke.

The player in question was Logan Thompson, a devoted freshman varsity football player who had never registered a single carry before in his career. Still reeling from his father's death, Thompson suited up for St. Clairsville nonetheless, providing security for the team's upperclassmen. During the team's victory against Edison, St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean had secretly encouraged his skill players to pull up short of the end zone if given the chance, setting the stage for Thompson to have a memorable first carry right into the end zone.

Still, the plan was almost sabotaged by the referees, who were completely stunned by the fact that Ferns hadn't actually scored. As reported by USA Today, two referees actually signaled that Ferns had scored a touchdown before one of his teammates came rushing in to argue that his team had not actually scored, a surreal twist on the usual officiating protestations put forth by high school players and coaches.

View gallery

.
St. Clairsville star Michael Fern, who set up a touching touchdown tribute for a teammate — Rivals.com

St. Clairsville star Michael Fern, who set up a touching touchdown tribute for a teammate — Rivals.com

Eventually, McLean's plan worked to perfection when Ferns found himself on a breakaway, then switched rolls to move from running back to bruising fullback for Thompson's cameo, helping clear a massive hole in the Edison line through which Thomson rolled into the end zone.

While Ferns is a highly regarded Michigan recruit, Thompson was the star of his team's victory, thanks to a touchdown that clearly meant even more to the freshman than his teammates hoped it might.

"Looking straight up into the sky after scoring my first varsity touchdown…i know the old man was watching! love and miss you so much daddy," Thompson tweeted after the victory.

Added McLean: "[Thompson's touchdown run] was something that touched the whole team. Logan was going through so much and for a few minutes we helped him get his mind off of things. It honored his dad. It was just an awesome moment."

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Outside the Game from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Struggling Eagles start anew by firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo
Remembering the 10 greatest fights of the retiring Evander Holyfield
Report: A-Rod was flirting during Yankees' ALCS Game 1 loss
Y! News: Daredevil jump re-created with Legos

View Comments (3894)
  • Marsh guides Australia to series-levelling win in NZ

    By Greg Stutchbury WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Mitchell Marsh kept calm after New Zealand got the sniff of an unlikely victory and scored his sixth one-day international half century to guide Australia to a four-wicket win in the second match of their … More »

    Reuters - 20 minutes ago
  • Friday's Sports in Brief

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- With Johnny Manziel's professional career in doubt and his personal life crumbling, his father fears for the troubled quarterback's safety. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 16 minutes ago
  • Inglewood's stadium rising soon, hoping to host Super Bowls

    Inglewood's stadium rising soon, hoping to host Super Bowls

    Only birds and far-away jet engines disturb the quiet on a sunny winter weekday in Inglewood, but this spot will be the heart of the world's next great sports stadium in 3 1/2 years. While the NFL wraps up its current season in the Bay Area's … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 33 minutes ago
  • Louisville men's basketball team coping with postseason ban

    Louisville men's basketball team coping with postseason ban

    Louisville will be on the outside looking in at March Madness this spring, a view that neither the Cardinals players nor coach Rick Pitino expected. University President James Ramsey announced a one-year postseason ban Friday for the Cardinals … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 42 minutes ago
  • Manziel's troubles mount, police open criminal investigation

    Johnny Manziel's troubles - both legal and personal - are worsening. A scrambling quarterback who can usually wriggle his way out of a predicament, Manziel is under pressure unlike any he's felt before. Dallas police announced Friday night they … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 47 minutes ago