The very existence of the Harrison High School (Farmington Hills, Mich.) football program hinged on one play.
Birmingham Detroit Country Day kicked a field goal to take a 10-7 lead in overtime Friday night and Harrison faced a fourth-down play from the 3-yard line and elected to attempt a 20-yard field goal to force a second overtime.
A miss and that was it for the most prolific football program in the state, which will cease to exist as a school in June.
Rod Heard, Harrison’s talented running back/defensive back who has committed to Northwestern, is the holder and he fielded a high snap.
The snap was too high for Heard to properly spot the ball for the kick, so he pulled it back as kicker David Hiser went through the motion of kicking the ball.
Heard got up and craziness ensued.
Heard started left and reversed his field.
“I knew he couldn’t kick it so I just picked it up and tried to run it in,” Heard said as tears streamed down his face. “They were outside, so I turned around and saw Max … and just threw it to him.”
— STATE CHAMPS! (@statechampsnet) November 3, 2018
Max Martin began the season as Harrison’s quarterback, but was moved to tight end.
“At first I thought it was blocked,” Martin said. “But then right when I saw Rod, something told me to bounce outside. Rod turned, by the grace of God, saw me out there and Lord have mercy he threw the ball. He threw the ball to me! I caught it!”
Miller caught the ball at the 6-yard line and there was not a defender in sight, allowing him to waltz into the end zone for the 13-10 win.
Heard was used at quarterback in the wildcat formation a few times this season.
“I’m happy that I have some type of quarterback skills that I played a little quarterback at the beginning of the season so I could make that play when my team needed me to,” he said. “You could tell I’m not really a quarterback, that’s why it wasn’t a perfect spiral.”
Country Day stymied Harrison’s offense all game. Harrison got to overtime by kicking a field goal and recording two safeties.
It almost ended the coaching career of the state’s winningest coach, John Herrington.
“I was thinking, if we lose this game they’re going to fire me because I didn’t have any offense,” he said, laughing. “And, we don’t have a school.
“But we get another game!”