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On This Day In History | 2002

November 8, 2010

The 2002 Bears | Kaijala (1st row, 1st on right), Kerr (2nd row, 2nd from right), Lashley (2nd row, 5th from right)

The John Glenn football team needed a win to earn a playoff berth, which seemed like a formality against a Bears team that had recently snapped a 24-game losing streak.  The Brook fought valiantly for much of the game, but trailed 14-6 with just over 2 minutes left in the game.  The Knights had possession of the ball and victory was just a 1st down away.  It was then, with everything definitively stacked against the blue and white, that a miraculous night began to unfold.  John Glenn’s talented running back fumbled the ball, giving the Bears possession near midfield, but after the drive stalled they faced a critical 4th down.  With the game on the line, senior quarterback Jared Kaijala found senior Jharod Lashley for a 21-yard touchdown strike with 28 seconds remaining.  Still trailing by 2, Coach Brad Baker elected to go for a 2-point conversion and on the ensuing try Kaijala and Lashley connected again to knot the contest as the crowd roared its approval.

“Coach Baker called a four reciever wide spread play and my route was a 5 to 7 yard hook,” remembered Lashley.  “I told Jared [Kaijala] I was going to run a 5 yard hook and go.  We broke the huddle and ran the play.  I did the pattern, Jared pump-faked and I was in the slot so I had a linebacker on me.  He bit on the fake and I burnt him and I was wide open and scored.”  The game seemed destined for overtime, but the Knights fumbled the kickoff and senior John Kerr picked up the free ball in stride and ran it back 47 yards for one of the most exciting touchdowns in Stony Brook history.  Incredibly, the Bears had scored their only 2 touchdowns of the game in the final 30 seconds to steal a 22-14 victory.  As the final 6 seconds ran off the clock the players and fans rushed the field in joyous disbelief.  The entire procession then ran up to the victory bell outside Johnston Hall to celebrate the improbable win.  The victory was especially sweet for a senior class that had witnessed only 1 other win since the new millennium.

That pass to Jharod Lashley was a play that we changed in the huddle.  Coach Baker originally designed the play to be a shorter pass to Lashley where he was expected to run the ball out of bounds to draw us closer to the end-zone.  With time short I decided to change his route to an “out and go.”  He would run an out route and I would pump-fake the ball and he would fade into the end-zone.  Well it worked, the pump fake froze the defense and Lashley ran a beautiful route behind the linebackers for the catch.  We were still down after the touchdown and Baker called the two-point conversion to Lashley to tie the game.  His route was a yard outside the end-zone and I remember my pass was a little behind him.  He still caught it and was hit, somehow he stayed up and dove in for the extra two points.  It was one of those moments where time seemed to stop, and everything was working out.  The air was electric, the crowed was rooting for us like it was the Super Bowl.

This was a team that needed to beat us to go to the playoffs, we were a team with only 1 win prior to that game, and it was the last game of the season.  We were also a team that hadn’t won a game in 4 prior years.  This was big for us.  I had played both ways for most of the second half and I was kicking as well.  Their star player received the kick, he was talented but I believe our defense did a good job defending him all game.  All I remember during that kick was going for the ball as their player rushed toward me and stripping it out of his hands and losing it as he and I went down.  The next thing I knew I heard a huge roar from the crowd and our entire team including the bench and coaches rushed the field.  Looking at film and talking to [John] Kerr after the game, the ball had taken a perfect bounce into his running hands and it was an easy return for the touchdown.

We were never so excited in our season than at that moment.  We were titans that day, a true Cinderella story.  I was just glad to be apart of it.  It was one of those great high school memories I will never forget and I doubt any of the other guys will either.  Our entire school was united in one simple game of football that night and there was nothing sweeter than climbing the hill to ring the Stony Brook victory bell.

~ Jared Kaijala



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