The late author Michael Crichton was a master of suspenseful, thrilling novels. There wasn’t much suspense in the Muhlenberg football team’s 58-0 Homecoming win against McDaniel on Saturday, but senior co-captain Kory Crichton (no relation) was involved in a thrilling, one-of-a-kind play.
The combined 72-yard return by Crichton and Michael Long of Kevin Cellary’s blocked field goal was an easy choice for the Play of the Week.
And it was all planned. Sort of.
The Mules led, 14-0, late in the first quarter when the Green Terror lined up to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Crichton’s job on the field goal block unit was to wrap around the end to guard against a fake.
“I really wasn’t expecting it to be blocked,” said Crichton. “On the film you can see I looked back to see if the kick was good.”
But Cellary did block the kick, and when Crichton looked forward again he saw the ball bouncing in front of him. So did junior defensive end Greg DeLade, who had come around on the other side of the line.
“I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I was like, I’ll take it,” said Crichton. “I think he was acknowledging that I was faster than him.”
In high school, Crichton was an offensive lineman and did score a touchdown as the fullback in a goal-line situation, but he hadn’t played running back since his Pop Warner days. His only previous time carrying the ball as a Mule was out of the end zone on an interception return of a Hail Mary pass as time expired against McDaniel in 2011.
The 225-pound inside linebacker picked up the ball cleanly at the 28 with plenty of open field ahead of him and took off.
“Once I got to midfield, I knew some wide receiver was going to track me down,” he said. “So I started looking around.”
Every Friday in practice, Muhlenberg does a “witcha, witcha” drill, in which a defensive player runs the ball and players behind him say “witcha” – “I’m with you” – so the returner knows where to lateral the ball.
Long was with Crichton, behind him on the right, but that’s not who Crichton targeted. It was sophomore running back Kamal Kendrick, who was just off his left shoulder.
“I figured we practice it, so we might as well use it,” said Crichton. “As I was throwing the ball, [the McDaniel tackler] got my left arm.”
Instead of going to Kendrick, the ball bounced to the turf – right into the arms of Long, who ran it in the remaining 40 yards.
The play gave the Mules a 21-0 lead and was as deflating for McDaniel as it was uplifting for Muhlenberg.
“It would’ve been cool to score myself,” admitted Crichton. “I’m glad we scored because it was an unselfish play. I think that was kind of the dagger, and it gave our special teams some momentum that hopefully we can carry forward.
“It was a very awesome play.”
Click on the picture below to watch the video of that awesome play.