Somehow, Cody Woolsey got the pass off while backpedaling under heavy pressure.
Somehow, Damon Perry caught the ball at the 9-yard line and, just before getting leveled at the 6, pitched the ball back to Ronnie Reyes.
And Reyes, somehow, dragged a defender the final 5 yards to complete a 6-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final stunning play to lift the third seed and defending champion Chowchilla High football team to a 26-24 victory over Golden West in the Central Section Division IV semifinals Friday at Community Stadium.
“Just like we drew it up,” Redskins coach Alex Pittz joked with well-wishers after the game.
The Redskins (10-1) advance to the D-IV final on Dec. 2 at top-seeded Selma, which beat No. 4 Chavez 35-3. Last season, Chowchilla beat Washington 20-16 for the section title and finished as the CIF State Division IV-A runner-up.
“I was just trying to make a play, and Ronnie was right there to make it happen,” Perry said. “There was no way (to score) – I had to pitch it. That was the craziest play ever. I’m just glad to move on with the team and have another chance at the championship.”
That the play even happened was controversial as Chowchilla had fired an incomplete pass on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line with 6.3 seconds left. The scoreboard clock showed 0.00, but the officials decided 1 second needed to be added to the clock, setting up the Woolsey-to-Perry-to-Reyes finale.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Reyes said. “I seen (Perry) cut back, and I was there just in case he passed it back, which he did. And I seen them coming on me, so I dove for it and stuck my hands out.
“Coaches always tell us to play with heart. As soon as I got that ball, I knew I had to put my heart into it and give it my all, and that’s what I did.”
Chowchilla went 80 yards in 12 plays for the winning score, aided by a pass-interference penalty on a fourth-and-10 play from the Golden West 47.
Golden West (10-2) overcame a 10-point deficit in the final 2:21 of the game. The Trailblazers pulled to 20-17 on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Allen to Christian Ortiz. After getting an onside kick recovery from Josh Summers, Allen hit Robert Ortega for a 44-yard scoring pass and 24-20 lead with 1:11 remaining.
Golden West has never been to a section final since launching the football program in 1979.
“We have to give a ton of credit to Golden West,” Pittz said. “This is the best team in their school’s history, and they were 1 second away from advancing to their first section title. I can’t believe somebody had to lose that game. It was unbelievable, but we’ll take it.”