Getting Your Six-Man Kicks
For all of those non-six-man football readers out there, PATs in six-man football are worth two points while running or passing the ball into the end zone is worth one point. After all, what are the chances of finding a kid who can kick a football decently in a town of 300 or so? Add to that, there are only four players remaining to block the defense of six while the ball holder and kicker are occupied with their cooperative task. Nine blockers to eleven defenders (.82) is better than four blockers to six defenders (.67).
Regarding true field goals, they are worth four points in six-man play and up until this past weekend, I’d never seen anyone kick a field goal when it was fourth down—going all the way back to 1999 when I attended my first contest at Reed Point.
It started in Bridger this past Friday night, when Richey-Lambert’s senior kicker Jack Switzer converted six PATs for his Fusion in a first round playoff game. More importantly, shortly before the half ended, he kicked a 20-yard field goal that tagged on another four points to their big lead. Although the field goal was not instrumental in their victory, it was indeed the first I’d stumbled upon in all these years. (On a related note, Switzer also contributed three touchdowns to the Fusion’s victory as he racked up 34 of Richey-Lambert’s 60 points.
From Bridger on Friday night, I was in Great Falls by Saturday at 1:00 for another six-man playoff game between Great Falls Central Catholic and Augusta.
Prior to the stalemate late in the contest, the kicking game for each team had barely materialized. Despite having scored six touchdowns each, Augusta and GFCC had only succeeded once in converting their PATs via a two-point kick.
So, as the Mustangs marched the ball down the field with time running out, they found themselves staring at a fourth-down situation in Augusta territory. Normally when a six-man team is in this kind of dilemma, they go for the first down. Further, given that it was so late in the game, I reckoned GFCC had nothing to lose by making such an attempt—whereas if they failed to make the conversion, the game would likely go into overtime.
Instead, GFCC nonchalantly had their star quarterback Derek Moes set up for a field goal from 33-yards out after he had only been successful in one PAT all afternoon. Unlike a PAT, if the kick is blocked, it would be a live ball for an Elk player to pick up and take it to the “house.”
As it turned out, it was a text-book field goal—as if Moes had been making them all afternoon—sealing the victory for the Great Falls Central Catholic Mustangs.
As the ball floated between the uprights and over my head, I stood there stunned for several minutes and considered the high-octane drama of what I had just viewed in this sport’s smallest venue—six-man football.