Football teams use placekickers for post-touchdown scoring opportunities because the single point they tally when kickers split the uprights is more or less automatic these days.
But not for Gehlen Catholic. The high school team from Le Mars, Iowa, technically has a kicker. However, senior quarterback Blake Wiltgen is an old-timer, in manner of speaking — a straight-on “toe style” kicker (as opposed to the typical soccer-style kicker) whose accuracy isn’t nearly as good as his power, head coach Tony Gunter tells TheBlaze.
“You just miss it a little bit, and it looks real bad,” Gunter said, adding that Wiltgen does well on kickoffs — typically nailing the ball inside the 10-yard line, sometimes into the end zone — but he doesn’t trot him out for scoring attempts with his foot.
[sharequote align=”center”]”Wow,” Coach Gunter says he remembers thinking. “That was pretty amazing.”[/sharequote]
Therefore Gehlen Catholic goes for two-point conversions after every touchdown — regular offensive plays three yards from the end zone. And the fact that high school football rules prohibit the defense from returning fumbles or interceptions for touchdowns during two-point conversion attempts, Gunter says, that leaves a ton of room for wild plays.
That was never more true than during Gehlen Catholic’s homecoming game against North Union High of Armstrong, Iowa, last Friday night.
After Wiltgen tossed one particular touchdown pass, he readied the squad for a two-point try. And what happened next redefines a “Hail Mary” pass.
After the snap Wiltgen, a left-handed quarterback, ran to his left and was quickly corralled by a bunch of North Union defenders:
One of whom grabbed Wiltgen and tossed him to the turf:
But in the midst of his descent, Wiltgen somehow got rid of the ball, flicking it backward and blind…
…and the perfect spiral arced over heads of the North Union players…
…and ended up in the hands of fellow senior Colton Kneip in the back of the end zone.
“Wow,” Gunter says he remembers thinking. “That was pretty amazing.”
Gehlen won 42-26, but Gunter tells TheBlaze that the game was closer at that stage, so the additional two points came in handy. In fact, he adds, Gehlen converted five of six two-point conversions against North Union.
As it happens, Gunter says, Gehlen Catholic hasn’t yet attempted a field goal this season, either. Not that it never would, Gunter tells TheBlaze, but only “if the game is on the line.” Which hasn’t happened yet.
So who needs an accurate kicker?
Here’s a look at the wild two-point conversion:
(H/T: Yahoo Sports)