‘Hook & Lateral’ Pass turns into Game-Winning TD

MONTGOMERY – A gutsy call by Lincoln High School Coach Matt Zedaker to run a “hook and lateral” from inside the Bears’ own 1-yard line on fourth and 19 worked like a charm and catapulted Lincoln to a game-winning 99-yard touchdown in the final two minutes as the Golden Bears posted a 28-27 win over Munford last week to earn the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 5.

Tony Nathan fans remember the Miami Dolphins’ use of one of football’s most legendary “trick plays” in the 1982 AFC Championship Game versus San Diego when Nathan took a pitch from receiver Wide receiver Duriel Harris, who ran a “hook” route to catch 20-yard pass from quarterback Don Strock in the final seconds of the first half, then pitched to Nathan, who raced untouched the final 25 yards for a touchdown that ignited Miami to an overtime win over the Chargers.The situation was more dire for Lincoln. The Bears (4-1) had built a 21-7 lead by halftime but saw that cushion evaporate in the second half when the Lions (1-5) took the lead late in the fourth period with a long play of its own. Munford senior Pernell Mitchell got loose on a 95-yard run to the Lincoln 1-yard line to set up a go-ahead TD. He was knocked out of bounds just shy of the goal line by Lincoln defensive back Montez “Teddy” Hall to prevent the TD. On the next play however, Munford quarterback Jay Tuck’s 1-yard sneak gave the visitors a 27-20 lead. 

On the following series, Lincoln mishandled the kickoff and started the drive from its own 10-yard line. The Bears were called for intentional grounding on third down – just inches away from their end zone to set up the fourth-and-19 with 2:31 remaining. Zedaker decided to call the play that offensive coordinator Will Hill had introduced to the team just four days earlier at the team’s Monday practice.

Junior quarterback Javion Surles stepped into his end zone and fired a strike to sophomore receiver Brian Garrett just 10 yards from the right sideline. Junior running back Cam Reynolds sped around the corner and grabbed the perfect lateral from Garrett. He broke a tackle near the 10, out-raced a trio of Munford defenders hot in heels turning back toward the center of the field near the 50 and picked up good blocks from Tre Garrett and Hall. He somehow fought his way into the end zone to complete the state-record tying 99-yard touchdown pass play. The Bears converted the PAT and closed out the game with a fumble-causing sack on fourth down by Lincoln linebacker Jamichael Johnson and recovered by Keyshone Townsend to escape with the 28-27 win.

“It was a gutsy effort,” Zedaker told Talladega Daily Home sports writer Will Heath after the game. “You give a ton of credit to that Munford team. They fought hard in the second half. We’ve been preaching since the off-season, we have to play four quarters. As long as that final whistle hasn’t blown, you’re never out of it.” Surles finished with 172 yards rushing, 119 yards passing and had a hand in all four touchdowns.

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