Maybe we should call this The Desherow.
Palatine High School’s unique play-calling didn’t snow Loyola Academy defensive back Bobby Desherow.
With the game on the line — the host Pirates were looking to tie the game with a two-point conversion with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter — Desherow was not about to fall for a gimmick play.
Aided by a great scouting report, the senior looked at Palatine’s power formation — and immediately thought Tim Tebow.
He immediately thought Tim Tebow Jump Pass.
(See YouTube videos).
“Our coaches had us working on that. We knew they like to run that play in goal-line situations,” said Desherow, after preserving a bone-chilling 24-22 victory over Palatine in a Class 8A state semifinal game on Nov. 21. “We were prepared for it.”
On a frigid night best suited for Eskimos and North Pole enthusiasts —17 inches of snow were removed from the FieldTurf at Chic Anderson Field prior to the game — the Ramblers guessed right.
Palatine’s all-state quarterback, Zachary Oles, indeed threw a jump pass on this must play only to have Desherow jump the route.
With plenty of emphasis, Desherow reached up and powerfully batted the pass down on the frozen turf.
“I saw the ball coming,” he said. “My reflexes kicked in.”
It was a case of LA’s Xs beating Palatine’s Oles.
It was a freeze frame moment for Desherow.
“Biggest play of my high school career,” he said.
But it wasn’t his only big play of the night. Desherow forced a fumble and a six-yard loss on Oles midway through the second quarter.
“I was disguising it, but I was coming off the edge on a blitz,” said Desherow. “It helped that he (Oles) was bobbling the ball.”
Teammate Frank Doherty wound up recovering the loose pigskin at the Pirate 41-yard line. Two plays later, the Ramblers (13-0) went up 14-9 on an inspired 37-yard touchdown run by Dara Laja.
LA’s other defensive game protectors were Sam Taylor and Cross Daffada. On Palatine’s first series in the second half, Taylor picked off a pass at the Pirate two-yard line. On Palatine’s second possession of the second half, Daffada intercepted another pass at the same Pirate two-yard line.
“Those were huge,” said LA head coach John Holecek. “Two turnovers in the red zone. Momentum changers.”
“Those INTs bailed us out,” Desherow added.
Three quarterback sacks — recorded by Doherty (13 yards), Daffada (6 yards) and Jack Hough (3 yards) — also helped the LA cause along with the tackle for losses by Desherow, Doherty, Hough and Ben LeRoy.
LA’s leading tacklers were Anthony Romano (10), LeRoy (7), Graham Repp (6) and Taylor (5).