Those old enough to remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports undoubtedly recall the late Jim McKay uttering the catchphrase phrase “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” set over a montage of sports clips during the Saturday afternoon show’s intro.
Well, last Saturday afternoon on the football field at Oceanside High, the Sailors experienced the joy the great Pelé felt while being carried off the soccer pitch on his teammates’ shoulders after a colossal win, while the stunned Massapequa Chiefs got a taste of what that Slovenian ski jumper was feeling as he wiped out on takeoff and spun out of control.
Charlie McKee’s 19-yard touchdown pass to senior Thomas Schmitt as time expired capped off an improbable 34-33 come-from-behind victory for Oceanside. The Sailors had trailed 33-21 with less than three minutes to play.
With his primary receiver covered, the sophomore signal-caller scrambled out of the pocket toward the left sideline and searched for an open man while Schmitt worked his way back to his quarterback. With two Chiefs bearing down on him, McKee put up a desperation heave that found Schmitt’s waiting hands in the left corner of the north end zone to set off a raucous celebration.
Despite nursing a shoulder injury that nearly kept him from playing, Schmitt caught 12 passes and scored a pair of touchdowns. He was the humble hero. “I looked back and saw he was running for his life,” Schmitt said. “I tried to get to a spot and give him a chance. He’s an amazing quarterback. It just went right into my hands. Unbelievable.”