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You likely saw the highlight on Nov. 21: With an impending spike by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Philadelphia Eagles rookie lineman Jalen Carter dove between the legs of the center in an attempt to intercept the ball that beelined to the ground. Carter could not make a catch, but it opened the eyes of the football world — was spike defense changed forever?
A St. Augustine High School (San Diego, Calif.) lineman attempted the same thing this weekend, and per video replay, he may have done it successfully.
Steve Montoya, director of programming and strategy at MaxPreps, tweeted the video of Bronx “Boogie” Letuligasenoa diving and arguably catching the ball:
Oh. My. Gosh. Should this have been called an INT? St. Augustine (San Diego, CA) would eventually lose on the next play. I think his hands are under the ball. @MaxPreps @chriscfore pic.twitter.com/9oJdbv7P5C
— Steve Montoya (@SMontoyaMP) December 3, 2023
Did he catch it? Did it bounce? The referees ruled it an incomplete pass, and upon video replay, it’s hard to see definitively if the ball bounced or if Letuligasenoa caught it cleanly.
It would have mattered immensely. St. Augustine led St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) 20-7 entering the fourth quarter, but St. Bonaventure had cut the deficit to seven. St. Augustine had punted the ball deep in its own territory with 14 seconds left instead of running out more of the clock and taking a safety, and after a short punt, the Seraphs had a chance to complete the comeback and win the Division 1-A Regional Finals.
Immediately after the spike, St. Bonaventure completed a trick-play double pass for a touchdown and made the game-winning PAT with no time left on the clock.
No time left. pic.twitter.com/MnJkBMBduD
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 3, 2023
St. Bonaventure won 21-20, and with how close Letuligasenoa’s diving interception attempt was to changing the game and postseason, it may continue to increase in popularity.
Carter said he got the idea from seeing a high school player do the same, and it has been done successfully at the high school level. ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports linked to two videos of such occurrences (here and here).
A little more clearly, and Letuligasenoa would have joined the list of successful spike preventions.
Instead, the Seraphs had their own trick play up their sleeve to get the win and advance to the championship, where they will play against Folsom (Calif.).