MEMORIAL FIELD — Burroughs High junior kicker Christobal Escobar walked to his designated spot on Memorial Field with purpose.
Waiting before him was the biggest kick of his young life. Escobar calmly marked off his steps, dropped his arms to his side, tilted his head up and surveyed the uprights.
With just 4.7 seconds remaining in Thursday’s Big Game against Burbank, and the scored tied at 35, the Indian coaches and players put the fate of the contest on his shoulders.
With his preparation finished, the ball was snapped and Escobar strode toward his mark at the 21-yard line. However, as he was just about to strike the ball, Burbank called timeout. Apparently oblivious to the whistle, the kicker followed through, and attempt sailed through the goalposts, prompting a celebration.
But because of the timeout, the kick was called back. That meant that Escobar would have to make the kick of his life — twice.
As before, he prepared for the second attempt, going through the same routine. When the ball was hiked, he struck it with a mighty blow, and as the seconds ticked off the clock, his effort gracefully split the uprights.
Escobar was officially a hero, having given Burroughs a 38-35 win in what was one of the most thrilling finishes in the 63-year history of the storied cross-town rivalry.
The kick not only gave the Indians the win, but it also gave them as share of their second straight Pacific League championship.
“The feeling was priceless,” Escobar said as he saw the referees lift their arms to signify he had made good on the attempt. “It was just amazing. This is a feeling that will be with me forever.”
With fourth down and the ball on Burbank’s 8-yard line with time running out, Burroughs could have attempted to punch the ball in for a touchdown. However, Coach Keith Knoop chose to give Escobar a shot.
“He is just money when he’s down close,” Knoop said, “When he’s that close, he just puts it right through the uprights. He’s never missed an extra point all year and he’s been money. That was a chip-shot for him.”
Elated with his personal effort, Escobar said he also felt privileged to get the chance to win the game.
“I’m just thankful that they believed in me, and I’m glad it happened,” he said.
Escobar, who also plays soccer at Burroughs, said he wasn’t rattled by being iced by the Bulldogs before his first attempt.
“It got me more hyped up and it made me want to make it even more, so we could win,” he said.
Big Game enthusiasts might remember another Big Game won by a field goal to end the contest. In 1976, Burbank’s George Florez booted a 41-yard field on the last play of the game to give the Bulldogs a 17-14 win against the Indians.