An athlete rarely gets a second chance to be a hero, especially on the football field.
But that’s exactly where Shawnee High School junior Robie Glass found himself on Friday night against Northwestern.
With Shawnee trailing 35-34 with 39 seconds remaining, Braves sophomore Drew Mitch — playing quarterback for the first time the entire game — lofted the ball in the air along the right sideline. Glass leaped over a defender, caught the ball and weaved through two more defenders into the end zone, lifting Shawnee to a 40-35 victory.
“It was an excellent throw,” Glass said. “He didn’t even warm up. He just threw it up to me and hoped I caught it. I guess I made the play somehow and scored a touchdown.”
Three plays earlier, Glass figured his Braves (4-1) were toast. Shawnee gave the ball back to Northwestern (3-2) after his pass sailed long on fourth-and-4 from the Warriors’ 47-yard-line.
“After I read the wrong read, I thought we were going to lose,” Glass said. “My team picked me up and helped me fight through that adversity.”
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On the next play, Northwestern fumbled the quarterback exchange and Shawnee’s Josh Lange recovered, giving the Braves a shot at redemption.
“We were dead in the water,” Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said. “I had my headset off and then they fumbled the snap.”
On second down, Meeks put the ball in his playmaker’s hand.
“(We decided) let’s take a shot, let’s put Robie out there (at wide receiver) and see what they do with the coverage, even if he’s doubled, let’s throw it up,” Meeks said. “He’s the best athlete on the field. We can get it up to him and see if he can make a play. Drew put it right on the money and Robie got by them, outran them all and scored. I’ve never seen anything like that. I’m just pleased with our kids. They fought hard.”
After the game, Northwestern second-year coach Shane Carter was disappointed his team wasn’t able to pull out the victory.
“I’ve played and coached in a lot of games and this is the most disappointing loss I’ve ever been a part of,” Carter said. “I just feel for our kids and our community and the people that put so much work into. We have a great group of coaches and I’m sure they’ll have the kids back ready to win. But for now, it’s just one where I feel for our children.”
Northwestern’s Chris Hart found Ben VanNoord from 31 yards out to give the Warriors a 35-34 lead with 5:45 remaining.
Northwestern’s Hart found VanNoord on a 25-yard TD pass and Eli Berner followed with a 4-yard TD run to give the Warriors a 14-0 first quarter lead.
Shawnee tied the game after a 1-yard TD run by Jaden Hall and an 11-yard TD run by Glass.
On the first play of the third quarter, Hart found Berner on a 65-yard TD pass to give the Warriors a 21-14 lead.
Shawnee tied the score on a 1-yard TD run by Matt Guyer, then took a 28-21 lead when Glass found Mitch for a 19-yard TD pass.
Northwestern’s Berner tied the score on a 1-yard TD run before Glass found Luke Myers on a 5-yard TD pass to give Shawnee a 34-28 lead with 6:37 remaining.
Guyer rushed for a game-high 128 yards, while Glass threw for 189 yards and rushed for 106 yards.
The Warriors had a chance to win the game with a heave into the end zone from the Braves’ 45-yard line, but Glass intercepted Hart’s pass as time expired to seal the victory.
“It shows that we come together as a family and never give up no matter how far we’re down or no matter how bad the situation is,” Glass said.