On Thursday night, November 3, 1988, the Tishomingo Bulldogs were playing their rivals, the Falkner High School Eagles, in Mississippi. In order to secure a spot in the 1A division football playoffs, Tishomingo had to win that game by four points or more. The Bulldogs were 35 yards from the end zone and ahead 16-14 with seven seconds on the clock. Coach Dave Herbert had Lou Gehrig’s disease so he was seated on a flatbed truck along the sidelines contemplating the call for this final play. He knew a fifty-two-yard field goal was out of the question, and it was unlikely they could score on one play from the 35-yard-line. Tishomingo fans were ecstatic about a two-point win because Falkner was their nemesis and these seniors had never beaten them, but Coach Herbert had a different plan. Knowing their best shot for a playoff berth required them to force overtime and try to win by more than four points, Herbert called a play that’s still talked about all these years later in a popular book. The play so confused his team that they were assessed two delay of game penalties, and game film shows turmoil in the huddle as these players couldn’t believe their coach was asking them to throw away their hard-fought win. Coach Herbert’s son was the quarterback and he tried to explain the play but nobody in the huddle wanted to do it. When the play was finally executed, the stands fell silent. Herbert took the snap, and then pitched it to his running back Shane Hill, who ran 52-yards the wrong way. Tony Dawson, the sophomore ball boy, ran down the sidelines stride for stride with Hill yelling, “Shane, you’re going the wrong way!” In stunned silence, Hill slid into Tishomingo’s end zone, oblivious to the fact that he had just completed what would later be hailed as the greatest play in his school’s history. Hill’s stats for that night were negative 26 yards on 10 carries. With the score now tied, overtime began and Tishomingo won the game 22-16 to claim their spot in the playoffs. Coach Herbert was featured on the Today show, Brent Musburger talked about it on CBS’s NFL Today pregame show, and the story was even carried internationally; it went viral long before the Internet. Even though Tishomingo lost 22-14 to the Anguilla Bulldogs a week later in Coach David Herbert’s final game as a coach, that bold play demonstrates foresight to see what most can’t see in the moment, and it speaks of great trust. Those high school football players had to trust their coach for doing something that didn’t make any sense to them at the time. These are the issues of faith. We trust God for seeing what we can’t, while remaining confident that He has our best interest at heart.
Playing For Overtime, Al Ainsworth, 2019, p.194