WHO: The six-man high school football teams for the Gordon Longhorns and the Live Oak Falcons.
WHAT: One of the more remarkable field goals you’ll ever see kicked.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: At the high school level, there’s no such thing as a chip shot field goal. If you primarily watch NFL football, or even high-level college contests, field goals don’t usually offer much excitement. But in high school, nobody can ever be certain what will happen when a teenager tries to kick the oblong ball through the uprights. Even so, something truly unexpected happened when the six-man Gordon Longhorns—located in the tiny town of Gordon, about halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene, with a population of 521—lined up for an extra point against Waco’s Live Oak Classical School Falcons last week. After the Longhorns went up 34–7, kicker Juan Cabrera booted the ball for his fifth PAT attempt of the night, sending it clean through the uprights and then over the fence at Waco’s Falcon Field, which sits in downtown Waco, right across from the famous Silos at Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Market. As the ball cleared the fence on the north side of the stadium, it continued its downward trajectory—and landed, quite comfortably, into the arms of Kennedy Irwin, a 23-year-old Baylor grad who sat in the passenger seat of a passing car.
The video of the kick, shared by Live Oak coach Brice Helton, quickly went viral and was shared on ESPN’s SportsCenter‘s Instagram account. It’s the sort of unlikely delivery that trick shot enthusiasts could practice for a lifetime and still never make—a moving car and the speed and arc of a football kicked by a teenager are all but impossible to sync up intentionally—but Gordon’s coach was mostly worried that his team might have lost yet another game ball, after the first four Cabrera had kicked landed on the grounds of the Silos at Magnolia.
“Cabrera kept booting it over the net, across the road, and into Magnolia Silos,” the team’s coach, Mike Reed, told the high school football website Big Country Preps. “I was extremely stressed the entire game about losing game balls, and so I was mad about the four balls that had gone over there. . . . So when a football goes in the window of a car driving by, I’m thinking, ‘We just lost our fifth football.’ ”
Fortunately Irwin—who was in town to watch her alma mater play Long Island University the following afternoon—is a responsible sort; immediately after she caught the ball, she and her friends pulled over to return it. (The other four, which landed at the Silos, were also retrieved.) And Gordon won the game handily, too, with a final score of 58–8 to cap off a memorable night in Waco.