Most of the time, quarterbacks like Cam Newton are asked to simply fall over to gain that much-needed first down when only inches are needed. At the high school level, where weird trick plays and the unthinkable take place, the QB sneak can result in 99 yards of glory if the defense is caught off-guard.
That’s exactly what Wooster High School quarterback Dylan Dagley did, but the question remains: should it have counted?
High Schooler’s 99-Yard QB Sneak
During a game between the Wooster Generals and Mount Vernon Majors in Wooster, Ohio, back in 2017, Dagley took the snap at his own one-yard line. His team was likely just looking to avoid a safety and gain a few yards.
Little did he know he’d end up in the other end zone.
As you can see from the video, Dagley pushes his forward in the pile. He gets pushed back into his end zone but keeps fighting somewhere in all those bodies. He emerges from scrum untouched and houses the QB sneak for a 99-yard touchdown.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Wooster coach Doug Haas told The Daily Record, “but really that’s an all-effort play. Dylan didn’t stop moving his legs, the offensive line kept pounding, and that’s why you play through the whistle.”
Well, yeah. But where was the whistle from referees?
After Dagley went forward, he was pushed back into his end zone. Referees should have blown their whistles when the ball carrier’s forward progress was stopped. They didn’t, and that’s probably why defenders gave up on the play.
I don’t the specific high school rules these teams were playing under, but here’s what the NFL defines as forward progress, per SB Nation:
“The Forward Progress of a runner or airborne receiver is the point at which his advance toward his opponent’s goal ends and is the spot at which the ball is declared dead by rule, irrespective of the runner or receiver being pushed or carried backward by an opponent.”
The play should have been ruled dead when Dagley was pushed back into his end zone.
Here’s what Dagley had to say about the play:
“I was trying to get a 3-yard gain, maybe,” Dagley told The Daily Record. “I was chopping to the right as hard as I could behind Corbin Lanker and Zach Ntia and then I saw a hole open up to the left where Chris Evege and Jake Burns were. (Mount Vernon) thought I was going to be down, but I just took off.”
Wooster went on to win the game, 45-21, and Dagley was the star of the game. But many were probably left wondering if Dagley’s 99-yard QB sneak should have counted.