The Shadle Park students had congregated near the south end zone at Joe Albi Stadium, poised to rush the field in seconds after their Highlanders upset the Central Valley Bears.
Just 2 seconds separated Shadle from a momentous victory on a night when a sensational sophomore quarterback with the surname Rypien not only became the all-time Greater Spokane League’s top passer in a single season but put five fields worth of yards between himself and the runner-up. And he has one more regular-season game to put that mark out of sight.
Then one foot spoiled everything – the foot of CV senior place-kicker Austin Rehkow, who had the audacity to ask Bears coach Rick Giampietri if he could attempt a game-tying field goal from a length only two other kickers in the nation had equaled or bettered.
By now you’ve heard that Rehkow made the kick. Thanks to social media, that kick went viral within minutes after a game that CV won 62-55 in overtime – a contest that became an instant classic.
As it turned out, the students who rushed the field were clad in blue and white.
Rehkow’s kick didn’t just crawl over the crossbar. It landed deep on the strip of asphalt behind the goal posts. The kick probably would have been good from 70 yards.
By Friday morning, his kick was already listed in Wikipedia on the list of longest field goals. Wikipedia states that Rehkow’s kick is the third longest behind a 70-yarder from Alan Saunders of Oregon, Ohio, in 2008 and a 68-yarder by Dirk Borgognone of Reno, Nev., in 1985.
The National Federation of State High School record book lists Borgognone’s kick as the longest. Rehkow would be tied with two others for second.
Four are tied for the longest kick in NFL history at 63 yards. The record in the NCAA is 69. The NFL and NCAA do not use tees that are allowed in high school.
There was immediate celebration between Rehkow and teammates. But it was fairly mild. It seemed like most were stunned. And most faced the fact that the game hadn’t been won. All it did was force overtime. The game had to be finished.
Perhaps riding that momentum, CV wasted no time when it was up first in the Kansas tiebreaker that starts at the 25-yard line. Running back Grayson Sykes, who rushed for 213 yards, scored his fifth touchdown. Rehkow chipped across the point-after kick.
On Shadle’s first play, an underthrown pass from Rypien was picked off by cornerback Scott Hilpert in the end zone after he had been picked on numerous times during the game. It was Rypien’s lone interception after 35 completions for a single-game record of 577 yards. He’s also thrown for the second- and third-most yards in a game (483 and 454) – all this season.
Another record that was buried under the avalanche of the game-ending drama was the most yards receiving in a game. Shadle junior Tanner Pauly hauled in 298 of the 577 yards on 13 receptions, breaking the record set in 1985 by Chris Claypool of University (283).
Media outlets across the nation, including a radio station back East, were clamoring for reaction from Rehkow the morning after.
Rehkow’s father, CV girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow, added some perspective about the kick and game in a text.
“What a crazy night and day! No sleep, tons of calls and emails, and memories that will last 4ever. Shout out to Brett Rypien and Shadle gr8 job.”
Even the previous owner of the GSL record for longest kick had heard about it by Friday morning.
“My father sent me a text this morning,” said 1995 Ferris graduate Randy Jones, whose 59-yard kick came on a Thursday at Albi in Fall 1994. “I thought for sure I’d get a few more years out of (the record).”
Jones, 36, lives in Bellingham. He watched the video of the kick on YouTube.
“It was bound to happen,” Jones said. “He struck it well, too. With the height and trajectory, it was a beauty.”
A kick that thanks to the Internet and today’s technology will be frozen in time – and a memory for a lifetime.