New NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Anderson Has Connection to Reitz Football
When the NFL announced the class of inductees for the 2017 Hall of Fame this past Saturday, kicker Morten Anderson's name was on the list alongside Kurt Warner, LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis. Anderson was nearly automatic over the course of his unbelievable 25 YEAR NFL career, but there is one miss on his resume longtime followers of Reitz High School football likely won't forget.
According to the unofficial Reitz football website, ReitzFootball.com, the date was November 11th, 1977, and the Panthers were on the road taking on the Ben Davis Giants in a regional championship game with a trip to the state final on the line (the semi-state round was not introduced until 1981). Anderson, a foreign exchange student from Denmark who had never played American football until arriving at Ben Davis, lined up for a routine extra point after the Giants took a 13-0 lead. It was a kick he had attempted several times over the course of the season, and one he had made every single time up to that moment. But this would not be one of those times.
Anderson missed, giving Reitz the opportunity to mount a comeback. An opportunity they took full advantage of, rattling off 14 unanswered points in route to one point victory and a berth in their first official state title game (Reitz is credited with a few state titles before the IHSAA introduced the official state tournament).
Unfortunately, the Panther's fell short of state title that year, losing to Portage 14-33 in the championship game the following week.
A coach will always say a game is never decided by one play. Clearly Ben Davis struggled offensively through the remainder of game, failing to put additional points on the board after Anderson's miss, but that moment could certainly be looked at as a turning point in the game. The fact it came from an NFL Hall of Famer definitely makes it more memorable.