My favorite high school sports photos: "The Kick" Joliet Catholic vs. Morris 1999

February 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

"The Kick"

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In the fall of 1999 I just graduated from college for photojournalism and was doing a test run on a web site I was starting that followed high school football across all of Illinois (www.IHSFW.com). I went to some big games, but mostly followed the high school I went to, Joliet Catholic, through the playoffs. 

There's a huge, though not often played, rivalry between them and Morris High School, a nearby town and in the 1999 playoffs the two met and it all came down to a field goal kick in the final seconds. Before the kick I knew there would be a reaction shot from the kicker if he made it, but I was on the opposite sideline and I knew his back would most likely be facing me if he did. It was a little more than a chip shot, but very doable for a good high school kicker. So I focused on the fans and the coaches, knowing I could always get the defensive players reaction if he missed.

Joliet Catholic, blocked the kicked and won the game and while I did get some reaction shots from the defense, this image was my favorite from the set. The fans with the sun in their eyes, holding their breath and every player and coach on a knee holding hands as this ball is just feet off the ground. The defense getting some serious penetration on the offensive line.

Looking at this picture it feels like even 15 years later this game is still being played and in just seconds you'll hear the roar of the crowd, but you don't know from which side that roar will come from.



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