By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
Drew Causey was faced with a decision every coach dreams about as his Oak Grove High Warriors (Hattiesburg, Miss.) battled Oxford in a 6A state championship game.
The decision: Go for 2 and the win, or kick a PAT and play for overtime.
He decided to go for 2, and the result was a state championship for his squad. Oak Grove’s 29-28 6A title win over Oxford provided redemption for the 13-0 Warriors, who fell in the past two championship games.
FNF Coaches recently caught up with Causey to talk about his decision.
What factors went into your decision to go for 2?
“We were down 7 when we got the ball with about 3 or 4 minutes to go. We drove it down, got it to fourth and 1 or 2 at around the 10-yard-line. Our quarterback scrambled in for a touchdown. We went for 2 with about 7 seconds left in the game.”
When did you make the decision to go for 2?
“When we got the ball after Oxford scored, I told my offensive coaches that if we score, we’re going for 2. I didn’t want to go to overtime.”
Did you consider the fallout if the decision didn’t work out?
“No, not really. I think the only thing that would have changed my mind was if we scored faster and had more time on the clock. The game was in our hands to win or lose. They didn’t have time to do anything with it. We had a play that we worked on all year, and we never got to run it. We practiced it two or three times every day in practice. We had faith in it. That’s what we did.”
What was the play?
“We spread it out to the right, and then threw it back to the tight end, who was sneaking across the opposite way on a sprint out.”
Why hadn’t you run it all season? Did you never attempt a 2-point conversion?
“We hadn’t attempted a 2-point conversion in probably two or three years. It was a red zone play that we worked on every day in practice. There was never any doubt that if we went for 2, we’d run that play. They were all excited about it, and we put our faith in the offense.”
Have you ever made a bigger decision as a coach?
“In last year’s state championship game against the same opponent, we were up 21-3. We got beat 31-21. We had the same situation. With about 7 minutes left, we were up 21-17. We had fourth and goal at the 1. If we scored a touchdown there, we felt like that was the game. We would have been up 28-17 with 7 minutes left. Instead, we didn’t get it. They went 99 yards and scored to take the lead. That stuck with us all year. Getting that extra yard was something we focused on.”