In time, University of Washington football fans will know how far the moment that decided the spring game Friday night will carry over into the future of this program.
For a night, it was pretty darned special.
Nick Montana? Yeah, that guy – the son of Hall of Famer Joe Montana – gave an estimated 15,000 Huskies fans an unbelievable ending by tossing the winning touchdown pass on the game’s final play to lift the Purple squad to a 14-13 victory over Jake Locker and the White team.
Montana, who arrived from his high school program at Oaks Christian right before spring camp opened in late March, drove the second-team offense 80 yards in 12 plays for the go-ahead score.
But the unforgettable excitement came in the final seconds.
From the White’s 2-yard line with five seconds remaining, Montana tried hitting Jordan Polk on a pass at the right pylon for a touchdown, which fell incomplete.
The scoreboard clock read, “0:00,” and the White squad thought it had won the game.
But an official ruling put one second back on the clock.
On the next play, Montana took a snap, rolled to his left and sprinted up the middle for what appeared to be the game-winning score.
One of the rules of the spring game is that the quarterback is not to be tackled. So, UW coach Steve Sarkisian ruled that the final play be rerun.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Locker, who stood with many of the first-team offensive starters where Sarkisian watched from behind the play. “You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the game.”
On the third play from the 2-yard line, Montana again rolled to his left, planted his foot and whizzed a low screamer in receiver Luther Leonard’s direction. Leonard went to the turf to collect the pass – right in front of cornerback Adam Long for the touchdown.
Not letting the suspense end there in a 13-13 game, Sarkisian motioned for backup kicker Eric Guttorp to attempt the point-after kick. Guttorp had not attempted any kick in a live setting all spring.
“Tried to make it as exciting as possible,” Sarkisian said.
Guttorp booted the PAT kick through for the Purple team’s 14-13 win.
Cornerback Anthony Boyles had intercepted a Montana pass and returned it 26 yards for a score to give the White team a 13-7 led with 12:17 to go. It was the converted receiver’s second turnover of the game.
But Montana began Purple’s final possession with 4:05 on the clock, and showed some big-drive magic by converting a fourth-and-7 on an 11-yard completion to William Chandler.
“Nick played good,” Leonard said. “How you define a quarterback is by wins and losses, and we won. I feel like he did a good job.”
Locker played four series with the No. 1 offense and finished 3-of-7 for 15 yards. Some of his misses floated over receivers’ heads. “A couple plays Jake would probably like to have back,” Sarkisian said. “He’s healthy. We’re healthy as a team. I’ll take it.” ... Kentwood High product Demitrius Bronson easily had his best showing this spring, racking up 72 yards on 11 carries. ... Cornerback Quinton Richardson did not start for the No. 1 defense because he was late to a team meeting. ... It was Locker’s first spring-game defeat in four years. “Maybe it’s a good omen,” he said.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442