Note: Each day before the high school football season begins the Salem News sports staff will discuss a different topic as we Countdown to Kickoff.
What's the most amazing play you've witnessed?
PHIL STACEY: Here’s one of the most recent: Brendan Flaherty’s refused-to-be-tackled 51-yard punt return in last year’s playoff semifinals at host Burlington. Taking a bouncing punt on his own 17, Flaherty broke eight would-be tackles and ignited his team to a huge second half. It resulted in a 34-21 Panthers’ win.
MATT JENKINS: The Ian Maag-to-Dylan Cressy-to-Brian Daly hook-and-lateral play that resulted in a 46-yard score as time expired should long live in Piper Field lore. Marblehead had just fallen behind Danvers in the closing seconds and needed a miracle. Maag hit a slanting Cressy, who pitched to Daly for the score, giving Marblehead the 28-25 win.
MATT WILLIAMS: Evan Bunker’s touchdown pass to Chris Splinter in the 2009 Division 2A playoffs. With 11 seconds left in the first half against Concord-Carlisle, Bunker made an interception on defense. With basically time for one play, Bunker took a wildcat snap with Splinter lined up wide; the regular QB sprinted across the field, zoomed though double coverage and made an absurd catch on his shoulder for a game-changing TD. It was a Julio Jones-style grab before the Atlanta Falcons stud made them famous.
GIANNA ADDARIO: It has to be Bishop Fenwick’s final drive of last year’s Thanksgiving Day game against Austin Prep. It happened so quickly; quarterback Fran Hannon fired off seven quick pass attempts, with the final one finding James Traversey in the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown in a wild 23-22 Fenwick win.
JEAN DePLACIDO: Lonnie Hill’s spectacular Hail Mary 54-yard touchdown catch off a pass from St. John’s Prep teammate Dan Ross in last seconds to beat Xaverian on Thanksgiving Day 2001.
DAN HARRISON: Brendan Oliver’s last minute touchdown pass to Kyle Jamerson on 4th-and-goal as Pingree won its first NEPSAC championship.