I have been fortunate to be on the sidelines for some of the best plays in the history of Redskin football.
I was there when Liberal completed three different Hail Mary passes for wins over Bishop Carroll.
I was there when Lamar Chapman ran 97 yards for a winning touchdown agains Garden City.
I saw Caleb Cline strip a Carroll receiver at the goal line to secure a Redskin win.
I saw Chris Hill defend four straight fade passes by Bishop Carroll to the corner of the end zone only to watch the shorter Hill reject all of them and preserve another Redskin win.
Friday night’s catch by Trenton Hammond against the sideline of the end zone belongs with those plays.
Like all of those plays, it took a team effort and great individual skill to pull it off, and if not for some key plays earlier, it might not have mattered.
If Rex Heronemus doesn’t stop Dustin Marx from returning an interception for a touchdown, Hammond’s catch wouldn’t have matered.
If Nolan Larkin doesn’t get a stop for a loss and forced a long Eisenhower field goal into the wind that sailed wide left and short, Hammond’s catch wouldn’t have mattered.
If the line doesn’t give Abbott enough time to throw the perfect touch pass, Hammond’s reception wouldn’t have mattered.
So give credit where it is due, but since the catch did matter, Hammond had to come down with three toher sets of hands grabbing at the same ball.
He had to get a foot in bounds, and he had to maintain control with the ball above his head, falling out of bounds with two of the three defenders falling on top of him.
And he did.
It was an incredible effort by a gifted athlete that earlier put his team’s back against the wall when he was tackled at the 1 yard line on a kick-off return.
But it is the same mentality and confidence on the bad plays that leads to the good plays.
Earlier in the game, Hammond stole a jump ball from Dustin Marx and took it 68 yards for a touchdown. Hammond had other strong returns to set Liberal up in good field position.
That confidence sometimes leads to a bad play every now and then, but it leads to a lot more positive plays — highlight-making plays.
On the bad play, Hammond said he tried to “make a play that wasn’t there.”
He was right.
Most importantly, he was trying to make a play. He’s not afraid to make a play, and if Liberal needs to win a jump ball to win a game, he will make that play, too.