Column: Would you fake a punt from your own three yard line?
Published 9:29 pm Monday, October 27, 2008
This may be the craziest column I’ve ever written, but before you send me to the looney bin, hear me out.
When the Goodhue football team punted from it’s own three-yard line on fourth down in the first quarter of a scoreless game against Blooming Prairie in BP Saturday, it was the right call.
I know everyone on the sidelines from media members to chain holders were shaking their heads in disbelief after the play backfired and Goodhue threw an incomplete pass, all but assuring the Blossoms a free score — but it was the right idea.
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The first reason Goodhue had to go for it was the Wildcats had just made a goaline stand at the BP three-yard line, only to be stuffed on their first three plays from scrimmage. Already a pretty formidable underdog, I’m sure their coaching staff felt the need for a positive. Plus most high school punters can punt the ball more than 30 yards from there own end zone, so a punt would’ve put the high-scoring Blossoms in prime position for a TD anyway.
Another reason was that Goodhue had beaten BP last season in the playoffs, which meant the Blossoms were eager for revenge. Eagerness can sometimes lead to being over-aggressive on the football field, which meant BP may have been brining as many as 10 defenders on a punt block — leaving a fake-pass play to be wide open.
As it turned out, BP showed good discipline as they paitently rushed and left a few defenders back — who recognized the fake immediately.
But it was still the right call for one last reason. If Goodhue somehow converts the fake into a big play — say a 97-yard TD pass — they suddenly have all the momentum on the road and they may have forced the Blossoms out of their comfort zone early on. That could lead to a couple of BP turnovers and suddenly Goodhue is in control.
Maybe they’re coaches thought they had to do something big early and that was the best chance to do it.
In the end, the play led to a Blossoms’ score but not a huge one as BP rolled to a 30-14 win — so I guess you could say the fake didn’t mean a whole lot in the end.
I’ve always said it’s better take a risk and fail than play it safe and fail. But that’s probably why I’m a writer and not a coach.