Ottawa football coach Rob Hedrick waited until the right time to spring a special play the Cyclones have worked on all season.
The Cyclones were in need of a touchdown against Paola late in the fourth quarter. Ottawa took over at its own 6-yard line. Samuel Roberts entered the game as the quarterback.
Roberts took snap. The offensive line blew open a big hole. Roberts sprinted through the hole and past the Paola defenders. It seemed to catch Paola by surprise. He went untouched for a 94-yard touchdown run Friday night in Ottawa’s 56-9 loss to state-ranked Paola in the first round of the 4A playoffs in Paola.
“It was just a base play that Sam has practiced many times,” Hedrick said. “Although he’s always ready to go into the game he had no idea he was going in until I called him into the huddle during a timeout. We went over the play (14 Belly) to make sure he knew what to do and the rest is history.”
Hedrick was saving the play for that moment.
“We’ve wanted to get Sammy a touchdown all season,” Hedrick said. “He works so hard and enjoys football so much we thought it would be a great reward for his dedication to the team and program.”
Hedrick said Roberts’ teammates were unaware of the special play.
“I hadn’t told any of the players what we were doing so I think the surprise of the moment added to their enjoyment in the play as well,” Hedrick said. “The Paola P.A. announcer really did a nice job calling out the play as well. I doubt if Sammy noticed that but it really added to the moment for everybody there.”
For Roberts, who has autism, playing football is a passion, so scoring a touchdown was a dream scenario.
“I doubt if Sammy has stopped smiling yet, it’s definitely a feel good situation,” Hedrick said. It’s a great reminder to me how fortunate we are to be involved with football, youth and sports.”