By Chris Palmquist
LE MARS, Iowa—It's not often that a town of 10,000 people in Northwest Iowa is featured on the most iconic sports show in the nation. But that's what happened to the Le Mars Gehlen Catholic Jays.
In last Friday's football game against North Union, Gehlen went for a two-point conversion. Quarterback Blake Wiltgen rolled left, was nearly sacked, but flipped the ball behind his back to teammate Colton Kneip who came down with the reception.
"As I was rolling out, I was going to throw it to Colton and he was covered," Wiltgen said. "So I kind of tucked it to run, then the player kind of caught me. So as I was going down, I just kind of threw it up and gave Colton a chance, and he made a good play."
Kneip, who stands 6'7", used his height to go up and get the ball over the defender.
"I was always taught that I was supposed to jump up at," Kneip said. "We're supposed to throw a high ball up so we can keep it away from the little kids, because I have a height advantage. So I'm supposed to go up and get it. I'm taught that every day in practice."
After making the rounds through local media, the play was picked up by the national sports world. It was featured on websites such as Deadspin and Yahoo! Sports, and was the top play of the night on Oct. 2 on ESPN's SportsCenter.
"[I] didn't think it would quite get this much attention, you know?" said Tony Gunter, Gehlen Head Football Coach. "In our school, out there, you know...lots of views on YouTube, on the internet, Yahoo!, your station, ESPN. I mean, it's quite the deal."
Wiltgen and Kneip were even able to pull off the incredible play a second time—albeit at half-speed—despite their doubts.
And while Wiltgen doesn't have any plans for an encore performance, he also isn't ruling one out due to the safe nature of two-point conversions.
"Well, I'll try to stick to the play call, but whatever happens I guess," Wiltgen said.