By Brandon Walker
Daily Times Leader
Third down. Game hanging in the balance. Possibly a division title at stake.
Sounds like the perfect time for A West Point player to come up with one of the most memorable plays of the season.
Thatâ€™s exactly what Will Harrell did Friday night.
Harrell, a junior wide receiver, delivered a catch for the ages late in the third quarter of West Pointâ€™s 22-20 win over Oxford Friday night, preventing a costly turnover and giving the Green Wave the opportunity to cash in with a pivotal field goal just four plays later.
With West Point facing a 3rd-and8 situation from the Oxford 47-yard-line, Wave QB Justin Cox lofted a high, floating pass down the field in the direction of Harrell and Oxford defender Justin Ivy. With the ball under-thrown and Harrell about five yards behind him, Ivy apppeared to have a clean shot at an interception, which would have given Oxford, which trailed 19-14 at the time, the ball with just under eight minutes to go in the game.
Ivy, listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, reached up and caught the ball, grabbing it with both hands. Thatâ€™s when Harrell made his move.
Coming back to the ball, Harrell snatched the ball from Ivyâ€™s grasp and momentum carried both to the ground. Instead of having to play defense and protect a 5-point lead, Harrellâ€™s terrific catch gave the Wave new life, which resulted in a 33-yard field goal moments later.
Those three points would be just what West Point needed in an eventual 22-20 win.
â€śHe made a Tyrone Prothro-type play,â€ť said West Point head coach Chris Chambless, referring to former Alabama Crimson Tide WR Tyrone Prothro, whose diving, two-handed snare over a Southern Miss defender six years ago has long since been a staple of highlight shows and greatest play countdowns. â€śWill is capable of making those plays. We throw him the ball in those situations because we know he can handle it.â€ť
For Harrell, the play was made from instinct.
â€śI saw that the throw was short, and I knew I had to go up and make a big play,â€ť Harrell said. â€śHe had his hands on it, but I just jumped up and did whatever I had to do to get the ball back. I just did my best to concentrate and go get the football.â€ť