Photos by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com; Graphic by Kevin Lee
With 3 minutes left in Vancouver Nighthawks’ game against the Portland Stags last Saturday in Portland, the score was tied 14-14 with the game in the balance.
Veteran Nighthawks handler Kirk Savage had the disc in his hands on the left sideline near midfield. After checking the disc in, he surveyed the field for a few seconds and then released a forehand outside-in huck towards the Portland end zone.
Savage put the disc in just the right spot, tailing in towards Andre ‘Dre’ Gailits and over the secondary defender just as Dre left his feet to leap into the end zone, making a great sky grab while keeping the primary defender sealed off from any play on the disc.
And that, essentially, was the game. The Nighthawks scored another goal and then finished off a 16-15 win to sweep the season series with the Stags.
The right thrower, the right throw, the right receiver at a crucial time; that’s what makes a win.
Here’s how Dre remembers the play.
“As soon as I broke long I was pretty sure it was going up. We had a similar play earlier in the game where I went deep for Kirk when he had it on the sideline and he didn’t throw it long to me. Then we had a little chat about it on the sideline about the missed opportunity, so I was expecting the throw.”
“When it left his hands I thought it was going to be an easy run on clap catch, but it floated a bit and that other defender came out of nowhere. I just slowed down a little, went up strong, and thankfully got to it first.”
Here’s how the play looked from Savage’s perspective.
“When I saw Dre striking I knew that he had his man beat and sealed. I know how well he gets up, so I was very confident in the decision to put it up. Sometimes, in order to win games, players need to make big plays, and in this instance Dre showed us how it is done.”
“I did not really think the double coverage was an issue as help was coming from the weak side. As it turned out, that defender made a very strong bid, which made the catch even more impressive.”
Gailits will receive $100 and a pair of Waveborn MLU sunglasses. Additionally, $100 will also be donated to Andre’s old high school back east, North Toronto Collegiate Institute.
The Nighthawks’ final game of the season will be at home against the Seattle Rainmakers on Saturday at 7 pm. You can buy tickets here.
There will also be a fan celebration event before the game, starting at 4 pm. You can get the details here.