High school football: Amazing play lifts Olympus over Springville in 4A tournament
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SPRINGVILLE — The play is simply called "ace flipper option" by Olympus coaches, and the name hardly does it justice.
With time expiring in a tied playoff football game, Olympus coach Aaron Whitehead called a play that could easily be considered the call of the year for the state of Utah — or many other states, for that matter. "Ace flipper option" resulted in Titan running back Coleman Meier crossing the corner of the end zone with just 1.8 seconds remaining to give his team a 43-37 win over Springville Friday night.
“We practice it all the time and it just worked perfectly,” Meier said. “I just saw the end zone and went for it as hard as I could. ... It was a team effort and it feels amazing.”
Meier was the fourth Olympus player to carry the football on a play that originated from the Springville 41-yard line. With just 11 seconds left, quarterback Chase Manning completed a pass to Spencer Williams about 15 yards downfield. Williams then pitched the football to Connor Haller running the other direction, and Haller then had the option to keep running or pitch it back to Meier.
He decided to pitch it to Meier, who outran a scrambling Red Devil defense to cross the corner of the end zone — leaving the home Springville crowd in stunned silence while his own sideline erupted.
“It just became an option for me after getting the pitch and I saw Coleman and knew he could take it all the way,” Haller said. “It worked perfect. We did it.”
The play was executed with such precision that it would seem the Titans run it frequently.
“I called it just hoping we’d get into field goal range because we had another timeout, but I admit that I was sort of (freaking out) right after it was called,” Whitehead said. “But when you get the ball in (Meier’s) and (Haller’s) hands, great things happen.
"When Meier crossed the goaline, it was like Christmas.”
Olympus led the game throughout, but could never quite put Springville away. The Red Devils scratched and crawled their way back and finally tied the game at 37-37 with 1:10 remaining on a 4-yard touchdown run by Jarom Hendricks. Jessi Noll then converted the ensuing two-point conversion on a 3-yard run.
“They just kept on coming all night no matter what and hats off to them and how they played,” Whitehead said. “Springville is a great team and certainly gave us all we could handle. We’re very fortunate to come out of here with a win.”
Olympus started its final possession in prime field possession at its own 42-yard line, but had trouble getting much of anything going. Two short runs quickly led to two burned timeouts and overtime seemed inevitable before Whitehead sent in his magical play call.
“I guess we need to find a better name for it than just ‘ace flipper option,'” Whitehead said. “Maybe Zeus’ revenge? Maybe the Urban express because it reminds me of something coach Urban Meyer would run out of the spread? I really don’t know what name we could give it to give it justice. ... I’m just thankful it worked and we’re moving on.”
With the win Olympus advances to take on Logan in the next round of the 4A playoffs.