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Oakmont stuns Lincoln on final play of Zebras’ homecoming

Trick play on two-point conversion wins it, makes rounds on national TV
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Placer Herald Correspondent
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LINCOLN - In a wild fourth quarter, the Oakmont Vikings stunned the Lincoln Fighting Zebras 44-43 with an unforgettable final play of the game Friday night.

On Monday, the highlight play was being shown on ESPN and found a home on Yahoo! Sports' home page and USA Today's high school sports page.

After the Zebras took a 43-36 lead in their homecoming game on Jordan Tayeh’s 25-yard touchdown, the Vikings had a little more than a minute to tie the score.

As he did all game, Oakmont quarterback Taylor Laird led his offense down the field on the strength of his arm. With three completions, the Vikings trekked to the Zebras’ 16-yard line.

With 2.2 seconds remaining, Laird lobbed a pass to the corner of the end zone and connected with receiver Namani Parker to pull within 43-42.

Oakmont’s extra point would have sent the game into overtime, but head coach Tim Moore opted for a trick play that has rarely made its way into the game. Holding for kicker Joey Rasnack, Laird caught the snap and then stood and turned away from the oncoming rush. With his back to the defense, the quarterback flipped the ball behind his head and into the end zone.

The collective breath of the audience held for those quick moments between the release of the ball and the subsequent catch by junior Justin Holmes, who outjumped Lincoln defenders for the ball.

The successful two-point conversion attempt was designed to end the game so the Vikings wouldn't have to deal with the Zebras' run game in overtime.

“We knew we couldn’t go to overtime against that offense,” Moore said. “We practiced that play over and over again. … It works every time.”

Laird propelled his squad with three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. As for the gutsy two-point attempt, the quarterback had all the faith in his team.

“We’ve practiced it before,” Laird said. “Justin Holmes, he catches anything.”

On the other side of the field, the home team scattered in shock while some players remained on the field. Coaches searched for answers.

“Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for us tonight,” Lincoln head coach Ken Lowe said. “I’m hoping it makes us stronger, but it’s a definite blow for us.”

If not for the miraculous finish, the story of the night was the performance of the Zebras’ line and running backs. The Lincoln rushing attack was a match for any high-powered aerial assault. An example came with less than two minutes remaining in the game. The Zebras traveled 76 yards in one minute.

James Hubbard led the Zebras with 299 yards and three touchdowns and set the tone with a 78-yard scamper on the third play of the game.

Cameron Tatum, Eddie Cobleigh and Tayeh each scored behind the power of an offensive line that took control in the second half.

Oakmont 44, Lincoln 43

Oakmont   3   13   6   22 - 44
Lincoln      7     7 15   14 - 43

Linc - Hubbard 78 run (Diaz kick) 10:37
Oak - Rosnack FG 25
Oak - Hamric 4 run (Rosnack Kick) 7:53
Oak - Hamric 13 run (kick miss) 1:40
LZ- Hubbard 9 run (Diaz Kick) 17.6
Oak Walton 25 run (conversion goodl) 9:12
LZ- Hubbard 1 run (conversion good) 5:30
LZ- Cobleigh 39 run (Diaz kick) 2:37
Oak - Holmes 17 pass from Laird (Rosnack kick) 10:11
Oak - Holmes 16 pass from Laird (Rosnack kick) 9:05
LZ- Tatum 4 run (Diaz kick) 6:11
LZ- Tayeh 25 run (Diaz kick) 1:11
Oak - Parker 16 pass from Laird (Holmes pass from Laird) 0:00