The biggest offensive play for the Monument Valley Cougars in their 62-6 loss to Dolores last Friday came from an unlikely source.
His name is Avery Black. The Monument Valley senior is playing football for just his second year, and he rarely gets playing time. He is nearly blind.
“He has a degenerative disease in both eyes,” explained Monument Valley head coach Jim Dandy. “Last year, they found out he was going to go totally blind. He still has tunnel vision, but his peripherals are pretty much gone.”
With about six minutes left and trailing 55-0 with the ball on the 50, Black came in at running back.
Taking the snap, the quarterback placed the ball in Black’s hands, and he took off toward the left sideline.
Cradling the ball in his arms, he turned the corner and headed upfield.
The Bears stood down.
Some defenders mimicked being blocked or attempting a slow pursuit.
And some simply watched him run and shouted encouragement.
Some Monument Valley players stood in front of Dolores players and blocked at half-speed.
And some ran behind or alongside their teammate as he ran 50 yards for Monument Valley’s first and only score.
But when Black reached the end zone and turned around – raising the ball above his head in celebration – he was greeted by players from both teams who congratulated him on his touchdown.
One of the first to pat him on the shoulder pads and commend him was Dolores junior Tristen Medina – who had helped put the plan in motion.
“(Coach Dandy) said something to Tristen Medina, who is one of our team captains,” Dolores head coach Chris Trusler said. “Tristen was lined up as the far side cornerback on their side of the field and the coach just mentioned it to Tristen.”
“Last year, a couple of schools were great about having that touchdown,” said Cougars coach Dandy. “I had kind of gotten to know the (Dolores) coach earlier, but I didn’t mention it to him.”
“I just told one of their captains to see if he would be doing it,” Dandy said.
“Tristen ran over and let me know what they had going on, so we called a timeout,” Trusler said. “And you know, that was a special touchdown run for their program and for that kid and his family, so we felt good being a part of that.”
Black was beaming on the sideline afterward.
“It felt great,” he said.
When asked if it was his first touchdown, he replied, “Yeah, for this season.”
His grin suggested that he plans to score again.