Bizarre ending to local football game gets international attention

Bizarre ending to local football game gets international attention »Play Video
Photo from video provided by Columbia River High School.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A premature celebration led to a stunning football upset Friday night in Vancouver.

Now video of Columbia River High School’s last-second win over Skyview is going viral.

Trailing by one point, The Chieftains lined up for a field goal in the final seconds. The Skyview defense blocked the kick and almost everyone thought the game was over. River’s coaches knew the ball was still live, however, and yelled for their players to pick it up.

With Skyview players and fans already running on to the field in celebration, Reese Keller grabbed the ball and sprinted to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. The kick was blocked behind the line of scrimmage, which means either team could have picked it up.

“I just heard my coach from the sideline yell ‘pick up the ball! It’s live,’” Keller said. “My body just reacted to what he said and I grabbed it and started running for the end zone.”

Keller said the game ball is under lock and key at his house. It may end up in the school’s trophy case.

“There’s a ton of people on our team who deserve to keep the game ball,” Keller said. “Our quarterback, running backs, receivers who made the final drive possible.”

Columbia River Coach John O’Rourke said he’s seen a lot of crazy things on the field in his 45 years of coaching.

“Two years ago the lights went out at McKenzie Stadium,” he said. “We had to come back the next day and finish the game. Those are bizarre, but nothing like this.”

Columbia River had never beaten Skyview until Friday.

"It's just what all the coaches tell us. Play whistle to whistle, don't stop until the final whistle's blown," said Keller. "It doesn't matter if time runs out on the clock. Just keep going."