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Eastmont (Washington) Hail Mary stuns Moses Lake, which celebrated too early

Tipped-ball touchdown gives Eastmont win over Moses Lake - and Sunnyside the top seed out of the league in crazy Friday night finish

In what might have been the craziest ending to a game all season, the Eastmont Wildcats pulled off the improbable and created instant shake-up in the 4A Columbia Basin Big Nine.

After blowing a two-touchdown lead to Moses Lake, and needing a touchdown on the final play of the game to win, things looked bleak for Eastmont.

Moreover, the Wildcats are primarily a running team out of the Wing-T - and needed to cover 60 yards on pass.

They needed some 'Hail Mary' magic - and got it.

Wide receiver Adrien Ruffins hauled in Luke Gale's tipped pass along the sideline and sprinted in for the 60-yard touchdown as time expired - and pandemonium ensued.

And yet, it was the play that almost didn't happen after the Wildcats threw a pass out of bounds on the previous play. Moses Lake players and coaches thought time had run out, and rushed the field thinking it had repeated as league champion.

But one second was put back on the game clock, giving Eastmont one final heave.

"It was wild," Eastmont coach Mike Don said. "It's just one of those moments where we thought the game was over and weren't sure. All we could do was look at double-zeros (on the scoreboard), but we were able to get one second put back on."

It's hard to pick out which part of the entire sequence is the most mind-boggling. Consider all of them:

  • Eastmont, a running team, was forced to complete a pass more than 50 yards down the field when Moses Lake was fully expecting it.
  • The ball was tipped by a Moses Lake defensive back, but fell right into the hands of Ruffins.
  • Not everyone heard the Hail Mary assignment on the Eastmont sideline, which led to the Wildcats only having 10 players on the field for the play
  • Moses Lake full-on rushed the field thinking it had won the game with time still on the clock
  • That whole sequence of less than five seconds of game time dropped Moses Lake from first place to fourth in the conference standings, costing the Mavericks a home playoff game

"I've been a part of a lot of football games, but nothing quite like that," Don said.

The improbable win by the Wildcats also turned around their playoff scenario.

Instead of hitting the road to play at Chiawana in the opening round, Eastmont now  hosts Richland next week in the district crossover playoffs.

The Wildcats' win also had some serious implications for Sunnyside.

The Grizzlies were already in line for at least a share of the league title, and likely the No. 2 seed if Moses Lake had held on.

But the Wildcats' win gave them a share of the 4A CBBN title, but Sunnyside grabbed the No. 1 seed because of its head-to-head victory.

"It was kind of nice being in a position where we had to win, so we could really focus on our Friday night game," Sunnyside coach Marshall Lobbestael said.

Sunnyside will host the Lewis & Clark/Hanford winner next week in the district round. Had Moses Lake hung on for the win, the Grizzlies would have hosted Richland instead.