Football lore is dotted with nicknames for crazy plays that decided games such as the Immaculate Reception, the Music City Miracle and "The Play" involving California and the Stanford band.
Jacobs High School added The Moon-Walk to that list Friday night.
With time left for one play in a tie game, Jacobs QB Bret Mooney took the shotgun snap at his own 48-yard line and dropped back against a prevent defense. With no receiver open he took off running.
Mooney was about to be tackled along the left sideline when he pulled up at the CL South 26-yard line, turned across his body and fired a lateral pass to speedy running back Josh Walker, who caught it between the hash marks at the 28.
Walker avoided a tackler, cut outside toward the other sideline and outraced the Gators to the front corner of the end zone long after time had expired, giving Jacobs (4-2, 3-0 Fox Valley Valley) a shocking 26-20 win, its fourth straight.
"It hasn't really even set in yet what happened," said Walker who rushed for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. "That's the craziest thing that's ever happened in my football career by far."
Mooney said the Golden Eagles initially had a hook and ladder called, but the 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior said he knew it wouldn't work when he saw four CL South defensive backs positioned in the end zone.
"It was improvised," Mooney said. "There's no play call to get 60 yards. I got by one guy, but I saw two more guys coming at me. I turned to the right and the fastest player on the field happened to be there so I threw it to him. It was a split-second thing. I literally just looked and threw it. I didn't even think."
"Mooney just made that play on his own," said Jacobs' Bill Mitz, who also said he'd never seen an ending like it in his 32 years as a head coach. "I'm sure he saw it on TV somewhere. It's just a great athlete making a play."
The Gators stood in stunned disbelief as the Jacobs bench, cheerleaders and student section stormed the end zone in celebration.
"I thought one of our guys had (Walker), but then he slipped outside," CL South linebacker AJ Howaniec said. "I don't know how it happened. I have no idea. I want to describe this, but I can't. It's just so horrible. To play so hard and then lose with no time on the clock? Horrible."
CL South (2-4, 1-3) had its destiny in its own hands. The Gators took a 20-17 lead when Chris Ivers scored on an 8-yard run with 10:50 left in the game, capping a 10-play drive that covered 65 yards.
A Mooney deep pass was subsequently intercepted by Austin Rogers at the CL South 14 yard line with 2:33 to play. All the Gators needed was a first down or two to run out the clock, but they fumbled on the third-and-10 at their own 14 and Jacobs junior Cody Ferencz recovered with 2:15 left.
Unable to move the ball, Jacobs settled for a game-tying 31-yard field goal from Ryan Sargent, who went 2-for-2 on field goals on wet, muddy Ken Bruhn Field. The Gators also fumbled away their final possession of the first half at the Jacobs 25-yard line.
"You can't turn the ball over against good teams that throw the ball all over the place," said CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann, whose team also lost a muffed punt that led to a touchdown.
"We just made too many mistakes. In a tight, tough, playoff-type game if you make more mistakes than your opponent, typically you lose."
Jacobs took a 7-0 lead on Mooney's 11-yard pass to Camden McLain, but the Gators responded with first-half touchdowns from Rogers, who ran the read option for 115 yards, and Eric Landis.
Jacobs knotted the game at 14-14 midway through the second quarter on a 12-yard run from Walker and took a 17-14 lead on Sargent's 32-yard boot with 7:25 remaining in the third.