Accomplishments: Ethan Reece realizes that dreams can come true.
The Galt High football player, a junior place-kicker/punter, booted a 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds left that led to the Warriors post a 35-34 win over Valley in a non-league game at Hawk Stadium on Sept. 6. Entering the final quarter, Valley led 34-17.
“I still can’t believe it,” said Reece on Tuesday afternoon. “That was one of my most confident kicks since I’ve been playing. It was my turn to put my effort in to help our team out.”
After the game, Reece and his Galt teammates went crazy over the victory.
“Everybody was just super excited of the win,” Reece said. “I, personally, could not believe it actually happened. It’s been something I’ve dreamt about before.”
Before his game-winning heroics with his right foot, Reece, who kicked a 45-yard field earlier in the game, recovered his own onside kick to set up his game-winning field goal for Galt (2-1). This after Galt closed the gap to 34-32 with 2:24 remaining.
“It was crazy,” Reece said. “Everything fell into place. We were getting our butts smoked for the longest part of the game. Then something just clicked with us in the fourth quarter. Everybody started playing as hard as they could.”
Reece and Galt quarterback Robert Bulahan Jr., who is Reece’s holder, benefited from an offsides penalty on the first kickoff. That pushed the ball back five yards. Then Galt head coach Tim Cobleigh called for an onside kick.
“The ball came to the guy and he fumbled it,” said Reece of the Valley player who lost the ball on the kickoff. “Our guys just hammered him. I was just sitting there, watching, waiting for them to pull up. The ball just squirted out and I just jumped on it.”
Galt lineman Edgar Gomez battled down a pass from Valley quarterback Damiyon Dean with 3:02 left in the game. That was another big play that led toward the Warriors’ win.
In addition to playing on the Galt football team, Reece is also a part of the Galt High boys cross-country team. After school, he runs two miles with that squad. Then he changes into shoulder pads, grabs his helmet and drives to Walker Park to practice his kicks and punts.
“I kick until about 5:30 p.m. and get back here,” said Reece, referring to Warrior Stadium where Galt practices. “I’m on the field by 6 and I condition with the guys.”
Reece has been playing soccer since he was a little kid. He started playing football as a kid.
“My older brother always played,” said Ethan Reece of older brother Ian. “I always loved watching the sport when I was little.”
But an injury — a horse kicked Reece as a kid — limited him to playing full-contact . But he found another way to getting onto the field.
“I can kick the ball,” Reece said.
Reece started competing in cross-country in junior high school. He’s been playing baseball since he was a kid. He was on last spring’s Galt High varsity baseball team.
He’s planning to go out for the Galt High boys soccer this winter. Most of the players from last year’s team that won the Sierra Valley Conference and Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles are returning. Reece was on the frosh-soph team last winter.
“It was super cool to watch those kids,” Reece said. “Those kids worked their butts off.”
This Friday, Galt entertains Mira Loma of Sacramento in another non-league home game at Hawk Stadium. This will also be the Warriors’ homecoming game.
Galt (2-1) is playing all of its home games at Hawk Stadium on the Liberty Ranch campus this season. Warrior Stadium is going through a major renovation that includes new home and visitor stands, press box, an artificial turf and all-weather track. The snack bar, bathrooms and the scoreboard at the Erv Hatzenbuhler Field are slated to be remodeled and refurbished.
The new home stands and press box are already in place on the Galt High campus. The rest of the work is scheduled to continue early October. The completion is expected to be done next spring.
Contact reporter Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.