Unlikely playmaker wins high school football game

Thomas Boutsikakis

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“Even if you do everything right, it still won’t work, but it’s good to be prepared,” said the coach of student Jack Burda. 

Burda has played football all his life. In high school, he has been nothing more than a defensive lineman. Defensive linemen don’t get as much spotlight as a quarterback or a running back, but Burda is proof that lineman can do just as much as they can.

Courtesy of Jack Burda
Student Jack Burda is shown tackling an opponent

“If that game has taught me anything, it would be that no matter the odds, all you can do is give it your best shot and hope for the best,” said Burda. 

Before one of his most exciting moments, the coach was teaching the linemen a new play to try and intercept the ball when the opposing team decides to do a quick pass. The coach had such little faith that the play would succeed, that the team “only practiced it twice,” said Burda. 

Burda took this play to heart, he was determined to make something of this play. In preparation for the game, “I studied the film of their other games,” said Burda.

When it came time for the play to be put to action, it was the second quarter of the game. They were on their own 40-yard line on defense. The ball was snapped and, “I recognized the formation, I knew they were going to do a quick pass,” said Burda. “I got into position and next thing I knew the ball is in my hands and I managed to run it back for a touchdown as a defensive lineman,” said Burda. 

Burda wasn’t alone when running the ball back for a touchdown, however. His teammates ran with him the whole way and blocked for him so no opposing players could catch up and tackle him. “The entire time I was thinking over and over again in my head, oh hell, oh hell,” said Burda.

Burda realized that eventually they would try it again. “They did it a few more times,” said Burda. In the fourth quarter, a play started with Burda getting knocked over. He stood up and “by sheer luck, I managed to get another interception,” said Burda. 

The ball had landed right in his arms. He managed to run about 10-yards before being tackled. This interception set up the offense for another touchdown. Burda was awarded the most valuable player of the game.