'I done wet my britches': The story of the greatest high school football game ever played

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Terence Green was enjoying a drink at a bar in the Dallas suburbs not long ago when a friend in Houston texted to tell him he was on TV.

At first, Green was puzzled. Then he glanced up at one of the TVs above the bar.

“Sure enough, the game was on,” Green said. “All these years later, they still replay it.”

Green starred in maybe the most famous high school football game ever played, the amazing, preposterous, soul-crushing 1994 Texas playoff game between John Tyler and Plano East. What other high school game made “SportsCenter” for three straight nights? Or captured the attention of Jay Leno and David Letterman? Or sent millions to YouTube to watch grainy highlights? Or inspired reality TV producers to try to stage a rematch two decades later?

It took a perfect storm of factors for the ending of Plano East-John Tyler to go viral before the phrase even entered our lexicon. The matchup of undefeated state title contenders in Texas’ top playoff division featured three successful fourth-quarter onside kicks, an unprecedented comeback and an unforgettable finish.

The insanity on the field was only topped by the unbridled enthusiasm, homespun catchphrases and shameless homerism of the Plano-based broadcast crew. They delivered such memorable lines as “I done wet my britches” after Plano East seized the lead with its fourth touchdown of the final three minutes and “I am sick, I want to throw up” after John Tyler negated the comeback with a last-gasp, 97-yard kickoff return.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Plano East-John Tyler classic, Yahoo Sports spoke with former players, coaches, broadcasters and administrators about what made the game memorable. Here is the full story of how an unfathomable comeback went to waste, how a trio of small-time announcers rose to prominence and how a Texas high school football game became legendary.

Championship or bust

From the moment it opened in 1981, Plano East had always been its town’s “other” football team. Whereas Plano Senior High was a perennial juggernaut with six state titles and no losing seasons since the Eisenhower administration, East had yet to mount a deep playoff run.

The balance of power shifted in spring 1994 when Plano East hired an accomplished coach with a history of success at smaller Texas schools. Scott Phillips instilled confidence and discipline in a group of players tired of being overshadowed by their rival and eager to make a name for themselves.

Plano East entered the third round of the playoffs 12-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state. Awaiting the Panthers at Texas Stadium the Saturday after Thanksgiving was their toughest obstacle yet. Longtime East Texas power John Tyler was deep, talented and hungry to capture the school’s first state title since Earl Campbell led the Lions to glory in 1973.

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “Plano East had a good squad and they were ranked high, but to be honest, we were confident. We felt like they just hadn’t ran into us yet.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “Tyler was so much more talented than we were. You watched them play on film and you were like, ‘Man we don’t have a chance.’ ”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “The coaches hid it from us. They knew we were going to have to play a near-perfect game to beat them, but they made a conscious decision to not tell us how good they were.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “We were talented but we were high school football players, not college football players. We weren’t 6-6, 300. We were 5-10, 230.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “I had broken my non-throwing hand during the game the week before.”

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “Our second-string quarterback took most of the reps in practice that week. There was a lot of concern about whether [Whitley] would play or not.”

Terence Green (Plano East wide receiver): “Jeff finally pulled through. He said, ‘I can’t let all my teammates down.’ ”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “People forget it was a close game for three-plus quarters.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “It was 14-14 with about three minutes to go in the first half. We did a long snap count on fourth-and-1 from midfield and their nose guard jumped. He hit my center helmet-to-helmet and rocked him backward, but they didn’t flag it. It made me so mad that I called for a fake punt. They stopped it and went down and scored a touchdown before halftime instead.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Midway through the fourth quarter, Plano East was going in for a score.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “We were down 27-17 but we were first-and-goal inside their 10-yard line.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “[Nose tackle Marc Broyles] strips their quarterback and returns it 91 yards for a touchdown.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “Then on the next series, we drop back to pass and they get a blindside hit on my quarterback. He fumbles the ball and they pick it up and run it back for a touchdown. All of a sudden it’s 41-17, and there’s only three minutes left in the game.”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “Jeff fumbling the ball twice — that was a shocker. That stuff didn’t happen all season.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “I’m not trying to make excuses, but I had a broken hand with a cast. Have I ever said in my life that I fumbled because of that? No. But did it play a role? I think it did.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “As big a lead as we had at that point, we’re thinking we’ve got this in the bag.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Our assistant coaches came down from the press box.”

Kendrick Austin (John Tyler receiver): “The starters had come out of the game. Some guys had taken their helmets and shoulder pads off.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “We were relaxing like we were in the Bahamas. I think I was over there dancing with the cheerleaders and waving at the crowd. We were waiting to hear the other scores on the intercom so we could find out who we were going to play the next week. We didn’t think nothing else about Plano East at that point.”

Morris Anderson (John Tyler quarterback): “At that point, I don’t even think Plano East believed they were going to come back.

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): “I remember watching our fans file out of the stadium.”

Jamey Bardwell (Plano East offensive lineman): “I’m not going to sit here and lie. When they got those two defensive touchdowns, I thought that put it away. There was three minutes left. My mindset was, ‘Let’s get a touchdown and at least make the score look more presentable.’ ”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “Going through my head at that point was sadness. I felt like it was my fault we were in this position. It was because of my fumbles that this was over.”

The start of the comeback

It wasn’t just players and coaches on both sidelines who thought there was no hope of a Plano East comeback. On the Plano Telecable broadcast, a quirky trio of announcers also prematurely eulogized the Panthers’ dream season.

Play-by-play man Eddy Clinton, a wisecracking former Lubbock sports anchor, handpicked two close friends to serve as his color analyst and guest commentator. Neither moonlighting Plano mailman Denny Garver nor high school football coach Mike Zoffuto had any formal broadcasting training or experience.

When Clinton, Garver and Zoffuto called a football game together, it typically sounded more like three friends chatting on the sofa than a professional broadcast. They were just as likely to go on a tangent about the concession stand offerings or crack jokes about a comically dressed parent as they were to comment on the action on the field.

The Plano East-John Tyler broadcast was especially off the rails because Clinton and Garver had a vested interest in the outcome. They previously coached many of the Plano East players in youth football and baseball, so they openly rooted for the Panthers throughout the broadcast.

With Plano East trailing by 24 points, three minutes left and the stands rapidly emptying, Clinton and Garver finally gave up hope. They probably would have been right, too, were it not for one ticked-off running back with some fight left in him.

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “I had two senior running backs who hadn’t been in the game. They were standing there looking at me with these big puppy-dog eyes, so I put them in the game.”

Kevin Coit (Plano East running back): “He definitely owed me some playing time.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “You see some different numbers coming into the game, and you think they’re trying to get all their seniors into the game. You think the game is over, but those substitutes still were playing like they were trying to win.”

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): “We always wondered why Kevin didn’t start. He was the fastest guy on the team, but I don’t think he always fell in line with coach’s expectations in terms of discipline.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “We ran a trap with Kevin and he broke it.”

Kevin Coit (Plano East running back): “I ran the first play 49 yards. I ran with anger because I had been sitting out the whole game. I felt like I wanted to punish somebody.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “Then Jeff Whitley threw to Terence Green for a touchdown, and now it’s 41-23.

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “Kevin Coit was the spark that started the whole thing, and I mean that. Give Kevin Coit credit for not giving up, going 100 miles per hour and playing as hard as he could because at that point I sure didn’t feel like doing that.”

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “I still wasn’t thinking about coming back to win. It was more like, ‘OK, now it’s a little more respectable.’ ”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “Our starting kicker got kicked off the team for breaking team rules after Week 10, so Terence Green had to take onside kicks for us. Terence Green was the best athlete I coached in 30 years. He could do anything.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “That was the first time I’d ever taken an onside kick in a game. I had never really practiced onside kicks, but I knew I had to kick the top part of the ball and just get it to turn over.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “The first onside kick, our backup quarterback, Mickey Jones, had the ball in his hands, but he was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Instead of getting on the ground, he was trying to score.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “The last ballgame of the regular season, we played Robert E. Lee. They tried an onside kick, and the same kid, Mickey Jones, picked it up and went and scored. If he had fallen down, the game was over, but that was on his mind. ‘I already have one score. Why not try again?’ ”

Morris Anderson (John Tyler quarterback): “Mickey caught it, ran with it and fumbled it. I think he was reliving the Robert E. Lee game.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “We scored pretty quickly after the first onside kick [on a fourth-down touchdown pass to Braddick]. That gave us a little spark. I started to think maybe we can do this. Maybe this isn’t over.”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “The second onside kick, we told the guys that all we need to do is cover the ball. They kicked it, and before it went 10 yards, [Tyler’s] Rod Dunn charged it and knocked it right back into their hands.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “I don’t think it would have gone the whole 10 yards if he didn’t do that.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “In retrospect, I did attack it too aggressively. I was thinking, ‘Let me get this ball and let’s just be done with it.’ It wasn’t too difficult to catch. It just went right through my hands.”

Jessie Taylor (Plano East running back): “The first onside kick, we weren’t really worried about it. They needed that. They needed some kind of points because they were getting blown out. The second one, uh, hey guys, we need to tighten up.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “I put the first-team running backs back in the game and they put their first-team defense back in. They’re bringing all these kids off the bench who are still putting their shoulder pads back on.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Now we’re trying to play defense, but when Ole Mo leaves your sideline, he’s gone. Now they think they can win and we can’t stop them for nothing.”

Kevin Coit (Plano East running back): “Jonathan Braddick scores again [on a 5-yard touchdown pass], and now it’s 41-37. That’s the point where we felt like we could come back and win.”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “We still knew that all we needed to do was get the ball back. What are the odds of somebody getting three onside kicks in a row?”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “Typically you hit the top of the ball and try to get it as high as you can, but I wanted to change speeds and give them a different look. I actually did the third one soccer style and it was doing all kinds of stuff.”

Morris Anderson (John Tyler quarterback): “They were talking all kinds of noise to me on the sideline. We’re going to get it again. We’re going to get it again. I was like, there’s no way I’m going to allow that to happen. I made up my mind that I was going to go get it myself, but Rod was just so eager to atone for the other one.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “I was really hoping he would kick the ball to me so that I could make amends for the first onside kick. Unfortunately, I was just a little too anxious.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “Roderick Dunn charges it again, it bounces off his hands and they recover. Now we’re in a spot where they can take the lead with a touchdown.”

Morris Anderson (John Tyler quarterback): “That’s when worry kicked in. Uh oh, we might be in trouble.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “We had to go right back out on defense, but I was still thinking about those fumbles. I wasn’t totally focused at a time when I needed to be. I was like, ‘If we lose this game because of this, I’m going to be sick.’ ”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “A few plays later, they end up hitting the running back out of the backfield for a 25-yard touchdown.”

Rod Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “That was my fault again. I was focused on the tight end even though that was not my responsibility. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was on the other side of the hash marks. That’s how out of position I was. I didn’t see [the running back] at all until the ball left Whitley’s hands. By the time I tried to get over there, it was too late.”

Jamey Bardwell (Plano East offensive lineman): “When Bubba Woods scored to put us in the lead, that was euphoric. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a feeling like that to this day.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “Coach Easterling ran on the field, picked me up and said, ‘You did it! You did it!’ It was one of the best moments of my life. You looked up in the stands, and there wasn’t one person not going absolutely ballistic.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “At that point, I might not have been able to walk on water but I thought I knew where the stumps were.”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Jessie Taylor (John Tyler running back): “In the blink of an eye we were down. That was the worst three minutes of our lives.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “We had let up and we got punched in the chin.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “I felt like 95 percent of it was because of me.”

Jessie Taylor (John Tyler running back): “To be honest, I really thought we had lost the game. I was like, ‘How could we be up that many points with that little time left and give the game away?’”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Our quarterback, Morris Anderson, came over to me and said, ‘Hey coach, don’t worry about it. We’ve got this game.’ I’m like, ‘What the heck is this guy smoking?’”

‘God bless those kids. I wanna throw up’

Scott Phillips intended to pooch kick the ensuing kickoff until both his offensive and defensive coordinators walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. What happened next still haunts the former Plano East coach a quarter century later.

“Coach, we think you ought to kick it deep,” Phillips recalls his coordinators telling him. “There are still 24 seconds left, and they’ve got a great field-goal kicker.”

“Well, if that’s what you guys think,” Phillips responded.

On the opposite side of the field, John Tyler coach Allen Wilson feared Plano East might onside kick for a fourth straight time even with the lead. Wilson had nine players line up within 15 yards of the ball and instructed his two best kick returners to stand at John Tyler’s 25-yard line in case of a pooch or squib kick.

At that point, morale was understandably low on the John Tyler sideline. Recalled running back Jessie Taylor, “It felt like we needed God himself to come down, catch that ball and run it back.”

They didn’t have God, but they did have Rod. Serendipitously, one of John Tyler’s two kick returners was Roderick Dunn, despondent over his previous blunders and desperate for one last crack at redemption.

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “I never considered not giving Rod Dunn a chance to return the kick. We had to put our best players on the field, guys who could make plays. There was no time to sit there and cry over what happened.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “I was really hoping they would kick it deep to me. I wanted to get as far down the field as I could to give our offense a chance to pull us out of this jam I put us in.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “I don’t know if I was exhausted or what. I thought I could kick it into the end zone but I didn’t get it far enough.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “Roderick Dunn sees Terence back up to get a running start and he thinks, ‘Huh!’ So he starts backing up. He was back to the 15 by the time Terence kicked the ball. He catches it over his shoulder at the 3 and turns up the sideline.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “They had two guys outside of me, so I gave them a little fake like I was going outside and then I cut back inside. After that, I could have scored if it was flag football.”

Kendrick Austin (John Tyler receiver): “He hit that crease, and there he went.”

Jessie Taylor (John Tyler running back): “When I looked out of the corner of my eye, I saw that we were sprinting down the field. So I start running too and then he passes me. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, here comes Rod Dunn.’”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Rod is running down our sideline and David Warren is running right beside him. David is about 6-5, 240 pounds. He’s got arms swelling all over the place. I’m watching this thinking, ‘Boy, he’s going to knock Rod right out of bounds.’”

Keith Buckner (John Tyler offensive lineman): “Rod crossed the goal line and just kept running right down the tunnel.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Everyone left the sideline and was in the tunnel celebrating. Including the superintendent.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “I took my helmet off and I was screaming, ‘Now what! Now what!’ There were so many emotions going through me at that time, but mostly I was just relieved that I redeemed myself and that I came through for my guys.”

Jessie Taylor (John Tyler running back): “It was the best feeling in my life I’ve ever had besides the birth of my kids.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “It’s giving me goosebumps right now thinking about it.”

(Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Yahoo Sports illustration)

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “I was sick to my stomach.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “I was just hoping and praying that there was a flag, something to call it back.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “In a span of two minutes, I’ve never been so high and I’ve never been so low.”

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “I remember being stunned, but I grabbed my helmet like, ‘OK let’s go. We’ve got a few seconds left. We can score.’ It wasn’t until that clock hit zero two plays later that all the emotion came out.”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “I had friends from Junction who left during the fourth quarter and listened to the comeback on the way home. Eventually, they start losing signal, so they get up on an overpass and listen to us score our last touchdown. They celebrated all the way home. They’re thinking, ‘Man, Scott is the best damn football coach in the entire world.’ They didn’t find out what happened until the newspaper came the next day.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Everyone wanted to know afterward, ‘What did y’all do on that kickoff?’ We blocked one person. We blocked the kicker, and that was it.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “I think their coach might have overcoached a little bit. What you tell your kickoff team is to stay in your lanes. We got the videotape, and you could see the three outside guys from Plano East streaking down the field. They never veered in to try to make the tackle. Hell, they’re probably still running today.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “The redemption that Rod Dunn got from that kickoff return, that’s priceless. Any level of football, any man would love to have that.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “Rod went from scapegoat to hero in one play. I told him afterward, ‘If I had a shotgun, you’d have never made that kickoff return.’ ”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “There were tears in our locker room afterward. Guys were heartbroken.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “I was bawling uncontrollably after the game. I went to the sideline, looked at my dad and he gave me some good words of wisdom. He said, ‘Keep your head up. You gave it all you could.’ ”

Scott Phillips (Plano East head coach): “The Monday after the game, we sat the boys down in the locker room and we watched the video. When we scored the last touchdown to take the lead, I cut it off. I said, ‘We win.’ We didn’t show the kickoff return. Didn’t want them to blame anyone for not making the tackle. Didn’t want them to have any ill feelings. I just wanted them to realize, ‘Alright, you made the greatest comeback in Texas high school football history.’ ”

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): “It took me years to get over this game. I actually wrote a poem about it and the coach read it at our banquet. It’s embarrassing to admit how wrapped up in that whole deal I was at the time. It was everything to me. I was pouring out my heart as a brokenhearted 17-year-old.”

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “What made it even harder was that Plano won the state championship that year in another division. They played nobody to get there. They were not even that good of a team. So to have what happened to us and then to have Plano win a state championship, that was just the icing on the cake.”

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): “I went to a Plano-Plano East basketball game at Plano after the season. They held up a sign that said, ‘You guys can have district, we’ll take state.’ I remember being so angry.”

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “That night, in the locker room in Texas Stadium, I knew we were going to win the state championship. We had three more games to go, but there was nothing that was going to stop us.”

Bingo, bango, bongo

Extraordinary as the Plano East-John Tyler game was, it would never have achieved such widespread fame were it not for the broadcasters. The folksy style and raw emotion of Clinton, Garver and Zoffuto struck a chord with viewers across the nation.

For a few head-spinning days in 1994, their soundbites made Clinton, Garver and Zoffuto the most talked-about football announce team in the land, more visible than even John Madden and Pat Summerall. They were staples of ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” They did interviews with sports radio shows from New York to Los Angeles. They even landed roles in the movie “Varsity Blues.”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “The day we did the Plano East-John Tyler game, we had three games to do at Texas Stadium, and as they often do, they ran late. The Plano East game didn’t start until after 9 p.m. We started coaching some of those kids on the Plano East team in tee ball, so some of the emotion you heard was us as proud dads and sad dads. And then you also heard 12 or 13 straight hours on the air, where our eyeballs were hanging out.”

Matt Garver (Denny Garver’s son): “My dad got more fired up when it was people that he cared about. He coached Jeff Whitley for years in baseball in all-star games and youth leagues and stuff like that. He had a special bond with those Plano East kids.”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “The way the thing spread nationally was Telecable gave a clip to the NBC affiliate in Dallas. I think they said something like, ‘You won’t believe this game, but you also won’t believe the idiots who broadcasted it.’”

Scott Murray (Sports anchor, NBC 5 in Dallas): “When we got hold of that video, we just went, ‘Oh my gosh.’ The game itself was incredible, but the thing we enjoyed most was Eddy and Denny and their call. We did a segment on the game on our Sunday night sports show and then we sent the video to ESPN and to the NBC network office in New York.”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “NBC affiliates across the country picked it up, and that’s when all hell broke loose.”

James Pultz (Telecable producer): “When we got in Monday morning, the phone was ringing off the hook. It was everyone from ESPN to CNN, to a station in Australia.”

Debbie Garver (Denny Garver’s wife): “It was just crazy. I don’t know how many radio interviews they did. Channel 8 went out to interview Denny in his mail uniform on his mail route.”

Matt Garver (Denny Garver’s son): “Jay Leno’s people called the house, and I answered. I said, ‘Dad, someone from ‘The Tonight Show’ is on the phone.’ He said, ‘Hang up. People are crank calling.’ They called back again, and I said, ‘Dad, I think it’s for real.’”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “Denny called at 8 a.m. and said, ‘Hey man, Jay Leno just called me.’ I said, ‘Are you drinking this early in the morning? What is up with you?’ ”

Debbie Garver (Denny Garver’s wife): “David Letterman’s people actually called first but they only wanted Denny. Well, Denny said, ‘I’m not going to do it without Eddy. It’s not right.’ ”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “From that time on, we agreed that if one of us was going to do something, both of us were going to do it.”

James Pultz (Telecable producer): “The next week, Eddy, Denny and I flew to Los Angeles to do ‘The Tonight Show’ and spent the weekend in the Beverly Hills Hilton on NBC’s dime.”

Debbie Garver (Denny Garver’s wife): “They ended up getting offered roles in ‘Varsity Blues’ because Jon Voigt had seen them on ‘The Tonight Show.’”

Matt Garver (Denny Garver’s son): “I remember him saying, ‘We’re going to be in a movie. I don’t know if it will be worth a crap or anyone will ever see it.’”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “When they first called about ‘Varsity Blues,’ [director] Brian Robbins asked me, ‘Will you be the voice of the West Canyon Coyotes?’ I said, ‘You only have one role? My partner and I agreed that if one of us did something, we both had to do it.’ He said, ‘This is going to be a big movie.’ I said, ‘I know but I’ve never been in a movie, so what do I care?’ He called me back a week later and said, ‘We’re going to change the script and have you both in the press box.’ ”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “They didn’t have any names for the opposing players in the script. They told us to just make something up, so all of our friends and family are in that movie.”

James Pultz (Telecable producer): “They used my name as a quarterback. To this day, we laugh about it.”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “This is how stupid we were. When filming was over, they said, ‘Here’s your check for your two weeks of work. You can have another check for $5,000 or you can have a SAG card.’ I said, ‘Why do we need a SAG card? We’re not doing another movie. We’ll take the check.’ Three months after the movie came out, I got a big ole envelope from Paramount Studios. I opened it up and it’s like $39,000 in checks falling out of the envelope. I was like, ‘Oh crap.’ It says in the contract you’ve got to have a SAG card to get residuals. We didn’t think of residuals. So I called Brian up. I said, ‘I would love to spend this money, but we didn’t take the SAG card.’ He said, ‘Y’all were so crazy in the movie, I took care of your SAG card for you.’ Over the years, I’ve received $100,000 in residuals because Brian Robbins did that for us.”

Eddy Clinton (Telecable play-by-play voice): “It’s a strange feeling being the only one left standing from that broadcast. I’m the oldest, too. Z died at 64 and Denny died at 60. I’m 72, and still beautiful.”

Matt Garver (Denny Garver’s son): “My dad would never say it, but what happened because of that Plano East-John Tyler game was one of the highlights of his life. He had photo albums of everything they ever did when they went to Los Angeles.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “That game became memorable not only because of the way it ended but also because of the way the announcers called it.”

Jeff Whitley (Plano East quarterback): “They were Texas boys, Texas hicks that loved football. They were perfect for that moment. They were part of the greatness of that game just as much as the players and coaches.”

25 years later

At the height of the frenzy over the Plano East-John Tyler game, Allen Wilson feared that the attention might distract his team from its ultimate goal. A horde of reporters had descended on John Tyler’s campus, the wild finish to the game was the talk of the Tyler community and “SportsCenter” was still airing the highlights nonstop.

To help his team focus on its upcoming playoff game amid the buzz over the previous one, Wilson banned reporters from John Tyler’s final two practices before its quarterfinal matchup against Lake Highlands. Wilson also emphasized to his players that John Tyler’s last-gasp heroics against Plano East would soon be forgotten unless the Lions took advantage and went on to win the state championship.

Years later, Wilson chuckles and admits how wrong he was about that. Though John Tyler defeated highly touted Austin Westlake 35-24 in the state title game after routing Lake Highlands and Arlington the previous two rounds, it is those victories that have long gone overlooked. All that anyone ever mentions is the time John Tyler squandered a 24-point lead in less than three minutes only to rescue victory with a kickoff return for the ages.

Morris Anderson (John Tyler quarterback): “People don’t even realize the Plano East game wasn’t the state title game.”

Allen Wilson (John Tyler head coach): “To this day, nobody has ever called to ask about us winning the state championship. They only want to talk about the Plano East game.”

Jessie Taylor (John Tyler running back): “The whole week after that game, we walked around school with our heads up and our chests out.”

Kendrick Austin (John Tyler receiver): “Morris and I pulled up into Taco Bell and the woman said, ‘Are you Morris Anderson and Kendrick Austin?’ We were like, ‘Yeah?’ She says, ‘Here, here, here’s your food. Don’t worry about paying. Here you go.’ I was like, ‘Daaaaaaammmnnn. We got pull like this now?’”

Jamey Bardwell (Plano East offensive lineman): “For awhile, it felt like there was no escaping that game. My second or third day of college, I get a knock on my door. I look through the peephole and there’s a state championship ring. One of the cornerbacks from John Tyler ended up going to Kilgore Junior College with me.”

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): In spring of my sophomore year, I transferred to Southwestern Oklahoma State and walked onto the football team. That fall, I found out we had a new player named Roderick Dunn. I thought, ‘Surely that’s not a coincidence.’ I couldn’t tell you any other John Tyler player’s name but I’ll never forget his.”

Matt McCord (Plano East offensive lineman): ”Someone pointed him out in the cafeteria, and I walked up behind him. He’s a smaller guy obviously, and I was a 250-pound lineman. I said, ‘Are you Roderick Dunn?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Did you play for Tyler John Tyler?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘My name’s Matt McCord. I played for Plano East.’ He just hung his head like, ‘Aw crap. This is not good.’ It was funny. He ended up being a really good guy.”

Roderick Dunn (John Tyler free safety): “I never thought we’d be talking about that game 25 years later. I never thought that game would be such a big part of Texas football history.

Marcus Cain (John Tyler linebacker): “It’s crazy how often the game still comes up today, even all these years later. I’ve been all over and when somebody finds out I played football at John Tyler, they’ll mention two things — Earl Campbell and that game at Texas Stadium.”

Terence Green (Plano East receiver): “Two years ago, I was coaching select baseball and one of the parents was talking about this game that happened back in the day in 1994 between Tyler and Plano East. He was trying to explain to me what happened. He was like, ‘Were you at that game?’ I said, ‘No, I was in it.’”

Jonathan Braddick (Plano East tight end): “If you’re a football fan, you know about the game. No matter who you are, where you are, you probably have heard about this game. So it’s nice to be part of even if we were all obviously devastated when it happened.”

Kevin Coit (Plano East running back): “We were part of a game that everyone is still talking about 25 years later. I’d take that over anything. I think it’s better than winning a state championship.”

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