Trick play brings fame to PCHS alum Overholt

Published 3:46 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

COMMENTARY

This is the time of year when small schools say, a Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., — put their football teams on buses and send them off to be sacrificial lambs for teams from the sports power conferences.

The idea is to show up, take your shot, take your loss and collect a paycheck that pays for the schools golf program for the next decade.

But a funny thing happened after Presbyterian did those things this past Thursday night at Wake Forest: Former Polk County High School star quarterback turned Presbyterian receiver Derrick Overholt became a star with one trick play.

I never thought it would get this much attention, Overholt said soon after video of Blue Hose skullduggery made ESPNs Top Play of the Day and went viral on the Internet. Its been an awesome experience one Ill never forget.Here’s the link on ESPN.com: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5527327Overholt is officially now the most famous Presbyterian student or alumnus, well, ever.

He took a bounce pass yes, a bounce pass on a lateral from quarterback Brandon Miley, faked a charging defender into believing it was an incomplete forward pass and then completed a 68-yard touchdown pass over a frozen secondary to Michael Ruff.

We practiced it all week, and it never seemed to work, Overholt said. Either the ball would bounce the wrong way or I wouldnt sell the fake good enough.

But it worked in the game. It was either sell the fake and have them buy it, or I was going to be really sore the next day, thats for sure.

The truth is, Overholt actually completed two passes against the Demon Deacons. The other one, which came after a more traditional lateral, was a completion that went for 24 yards. For stat geeks, Overholt has a quarterback rating of 158.3 – not bad for a wideout.

That may not be much of a surprise to folks around here who remember Overholt as one of the best pure passers in Polk County High history. He left owning school records for most career touchdown passes (36), most passing yardage in a season (2,756) and most touchdown passes in a season (32) and was named to the Shrine Bowl.

After his second completion, Presbyterian head coach Harold Nichols joked on the sideline that Overholt would be moving back to quarterback.

I miss it, Overholt said of playing quarterback. But right now, there are no plans to move me back there. In college, you pretty much play where they tell you to.

This week, theyre telling Overholt to go play at Clemson in another money game for Presbyterian, a Big South Conference member still in its NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision infancy.

He knows fame is fleeting. If the Blue Hose try to run the tricky bounce play again this weekend, Overholt will end up with a tiger paw imprinted on his chest as hes buried in the Death Valley sod. He might end up on ESPN for a much darker reason.

But even after a 53-13 drubbing at the hands of the Demon Deacons, Overholt said he is looking forward to Presbyterians second ACC opponent in as many weeks and a Saturday afternoon in Tiger-town in front of 80,000 orange-clad fans.

They call them money games, I know that, Overholt said. But when you come to a school like this, its your chance to go play in that atmosphere. Thats why you come here.

And thats why you cant help but pull for trick plays and jaw-dropping upsets and for Overholt and all those early season underdogs like the Blue Hose.