Simon Burkett went through two reads, scrambled to his left, outraced defenders, dove for the end zone and knocked the pylon over with the ball as time expired, giving the Meridian football team a 50-44 comeback win over Blaine.
“I had to get it, or it was over,” Burkett said. “It was all or nothing.”
This was after the Trojans trailed the Borderites the entire game, as both teams engaged in a shootout with offensive firepower from both sides.
Blaine coach Jay Dodd knew it was going to be a high-scoring affair.
“We knew they’d be tough to stop at times,” Dodd said. “We knew we had to score some points, we just didn’t score enough to win.”
Burkett’s game-winning score was set up by his 43-yard bomb to senior Bryce Vandehaak, putting the Trojans (2-0) on the 2-yard line with 15 seconds remaining.
“To be honest, I feel good,” Dodd said. “We got our butt kicked last week. So, our kids did a great job coming back. We played a lot better. This was two different teams from seven days ago.”
Star of the game
Burkett kept Meridian’s hopes alive with clutch passing plays and runs to sustain drives throughout the second half.
Turning point of the game
Blaine (0-2) had a chance to build a two-touchdown cushion midway through the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on downs in the red zone, when Cam Ellis threw a pass through the hands of Chase Abershere with 5:05 remaining.
Play of the Night
Burkett launched a missile from his own 25 to Vandehaak, who caught it in stride and nearly took it for a score, but he was knocked out of bounds by Blaine’s Dalton Mouw, who seemingly came out of nowhere.
Unsung hero of the game
Ellis went 22 for 39 passing with four touchdowns, including three to Abershere. Ellis went toe-to-toe with the Eastern Washington-bound Burkett and nearly upset the Trojans.