The La Cañada High Class of 1997 won the first ever Thanksgiving Showdown in 2001 and hadn’t won one since. That all changed last Friday at the LCH football field, when game co-MVP Jeff Riddell ran in a two-point conversion in overtime to capture the fifth annual Showdown, 16-14.
The only points scored in the first half came when Joe Schmitt tackled Nick Racklin in his own end zone for a safety. The game remained a defensive struggle up until Class of 2000 receiver Mike Schmitt caught a Racklin touchdown pass in the end zone for what appeared to be the game- winning TD with 48 seconds to play. The two point conversion was successful and the Class of 2000 took a 8-2 lead.
Riddell then came in at quarterback for the class of 1997 and led a four-play drive, capped off by a TD pass to game co-MVP Kevin Neumeier to tie the game with less than 10 seconds to play.
The key play of the drive was a 60-yard pass to Class of 1997 receiver Jordan Lindsey. The conversion attempt failed and the 2005 Thanksgiving Showdown went into overtime.
The Class of 2000 got the ball first in overtime, and a sustained drive led to a four-yard Racklin TD run to take the lead. After a failed 2000 two-point conversion, the Class of 1997 got the ball with one last series to tie the game. Two straight incompletions, a false start, and a short pass to Neumeier left them in a precarious position: fourth down and goal from the 15-yard line with the game on the line.
Jeff Riddell then dropped back to pass and completed a fade pass into double coverage to older brother Mike for the game-tying score. Jeff then proceeded to run in the two-point conversion to capture the victory.
With the victory, the LCH Class of 1997 captured its first Thanksgiving Showdown in four years, while adding fuel to an already intense rivalry with the Class of 2000.
Despite the loss, the Class of 2000 still leads the overall series 3-2 and is anxiously looking to get back into the win column next year.