Pearl City football players might want this photo as a keepsake.
It shows Timothy Rivera lateraling the ball to Blake Cooper near the sideline with open field and the end zone ahead. A Kauai defender, Shaedon Tallano, is in pursuit, but way off toward the middle of the field.
Earlier on the very same double-trick play, Rivera himself was a lateral recipient after a Chargers pass completion.
The in-focus clock on the scoreboard in the background shows 54 seconds are left in the fourth quarter with Kauai holding a 13-7 lead. The wind is whipping the American flag on the overcast but somehow still bright day. The grass is green. No mud in sight despite heavy rains all afternoon at Kauai’s Vidinha Stadium.
The moment is frozen by photographer Ron Kosen. It appears no one is near enough to Cooper to get him and that all he has to do is grab the ball out of midair and run to the end zone. Tie game with an extra point awaiting? A win and a second-round Division II state-tournament semifinal against ‘Iolani in the offing? Wrong.
Eventually, Cooper got pushed out of bounds at the 50. But a second razzle-dazzle hook and lateral play a bit later pushed the ball to the Kauai 32, and it had the home fans on edge yet again, anticipating the improbability of losing like this.
But Pearl City did not get it done. A false-start penalty brought the ball back into Chargers territory and the clock finally ran out.
And Kosen’s photo, more than words ever could, shows just how close Pearl City came to pulling off an amazing comeback