TEMECULA – Anyone else look up the free-kick rule after seeing that the Chaparral Pumas beat Roosevelt with almost no time left on the clock in their final game of the regular season? You know we had to!

A well-played call by Coach Andrew Ramer from Chaparral not only catapulted the Pumas into instant viral sensations, but also gave them a last second victory in what was already a game for the ages. Both teams combined for over 1,100 yards of offense and 116 points on the scoreboard, so a dramatic win was just the icing on the cake as the two teams needed the victory in order to get an automatic playoff bid.

Never mind the first 46 minutes of the game, which showcased each teams resilience. Yes, Chaparral quarterback Dash Beierly did his best to ensure that Roosevelt QB Bryan Wilson wasn’t the only one being talked about at the dinner table that night. Beierly completed 20 of 26 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns with Blake Lowe being his target of choice. Lowe caught five passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns. Chaparral running back Jayce Venable was not to be outdone either as he scampered for 115 yards on the night.

Wilson though, he was absolutely in the conversation of the night as he accounted for 435 of the Mustangs’ 498 yards. The Roosevelt QB completed 15 of 26 passes for 349 yards and six touchdowns to go with 86 yards and two of his own TDs. Bryndon Henderson was Wilson’s go-to guy after hauling in seven passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Eight scores, whether from his arm, or his legs, should have been enough for the win, and it almost was.

Fast forward to late in the fourth quarter. Chaparral failed to convert on a fourth-down and Wilson ran his team down the field where he connected with Henderson for a 29-yard touchdown with just under two minutes remaining. Instead of tying the game, Wilson then found Mitchell Rodenbaugh for the two-point conversion to give the Mustangs a come-from-behind victory, or so they thought.

With the Pumas on the move, a Beierly pass would get intercepted and returned to the 19-yard line with a minute to play. Roosevelt would try to run out the clock, but with two timeouts left, and then a delay-of-game penalty, Roosevelt’s world started to crumble as they were backed up to their own end zone on fourth down. The Mustangs punt would not get much flight, and maybe went twenty yards, or so. Chaparral’s Devon Clark signaled for a fair catch, which set up Ezra Johnson for the game-winning free kick.

Chaparral sets up for a free kick on the 25-yard line with less than 5 seconds to go in their Big West Conference, Upper Division win over Roosevelt Thursday, Oct. 26. Valley News/Courtesy photo

The Pumas were already going to try for the field goal, but it was then, according to Ramer himself, who explained the play on the Coach JB podcast show the very next morning, that his assistant coach, Dennis Gregovich, reminded them of the free-kick rule. A rule that rarely gets used, but one that had blown up on social media the week before, via MaxPreps. The officiating crew was notified of Chaparral’s intent, and all Roosevelt could do was hope for a miss.

In so many words, the rule states that the Pumas would get a free kick from the line of scrimmage, on a tee, with no resistance from the opposition after a fair catch is signaled. If the ball is kicked through the uprights, it counts as three points. Ramer told his team the plan but, “We couldn’t find the tee anywhere on our sideline for about 30 seconds,” Ramer told the media. “Once we found it, I told our kicker to put the ball on the tee and boom it through.”

Johnson found the tee, set it at the 25, and put the ball through the uprights. Because it was an untimed down, no time ran off the clock. So, Roosevelt’s final attempt at a miracle consisted of multiple laterals on the ensuing kickoff, but it went nowhere, helping the Pumas secure a playoff spot for the second straight season. Chaparral moved to 7-3 overall after finishing the season on a three-game winning streak, including a magnificent win over Murrieta Valley.

Roosevelt fell to 6-4 overall and 2-3 in league play and will now have to apply for an At-Large bid to get into the playoffs. Murrieta Valley (7-3, 3-2) was the other second place team after finishing their season on the road against Vista Murrieta with a 35-21 win. The Broncos will also have to apply for an At-Large bid with their 2-3 record, going 6-4 overall in Coley Candaele’s first year back.

CIF Southern Section postseason football brackets will be live the morning of Sunday, Oct. 29, at 10 a.m. Visit www.cifss.org for more information.

*All stats, schedules, photos, and scores are supplied by local high school athletic directors, MaxPreps, CIF-SS offices, contributing writers/photographers and countless fans of the games via social media. Is your team’s score missing? Want to leave a game note? Let us know if your school is inside our coverage area and would like to be mentioned.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.