Thank the long snapper for this win

Jenna Burkman, Staff Writer

Have you ever envisioned losing a football game because of your long snapper? Well neither did Diablo Valley College.

The SRJC Bear Cubs pulled out an exciting 28-26 win against Diablo Valley College Saturday Sept. 7 in Pleasant Hill.

With 46 seconds left in the game, the Bear Cubs stopped the first down and forced the Vikings to punt the ball. But the DVC long snapper made a costly mistake: he snapped the ball over the punter’s head.

“Because of the bad snap, their punter was only able to punt the ball about 15 yards,” said Bear Cub’s running back Spencer Morrow. “Therefore, we were already in scoring position, and we definitely took advantage of this.”

Ultimately, DVC’s long snapper played a major role in the team’s loss.

But what is a long snapper? And what are his responsibilities during the game?

It is safe to say the long snapper is one of the most underrated positions in football. Typically, his job is to snap the ball to the punter or field goal kicker as quickly and accurately as possible. The hike of the ball can be as long as 15 yards (45 ft) away in a punting situation. Even after the snap, his job is not over. He must either block during a field goal attempt, or chase down return men on a punt. It’s a specialty position, and therefore it takes a special individual to master the technique.

Matt Keefe is SRJC’s long snapper, and Kaipo Pearl is the short snapper.

“We put a lot of time and a lot of practice into special teams,” said head coach Keith Simons. “A lot of schools don’t do that, and special teams will win at least one game a year for you, and lose one game a year for you.”

Often long snappers are overlooked until they make a mistake, and outside of the team they do not get much recognition.

“Everybody takes those guys for granted,” Simons said. “The NFL has just snappers, and they do not play any other position. They just snap. There are a lot of guys in the NFL who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, but they have a job because they can deep snap, and that’s a really nice skill to have.”

One bad snap can make the difference in any game, and coaches want a player that they can count on to get the job done.

“We’ve had a couple guys in my 17 years who have gotten scholarships because they can deep snap,” Simons said.

At the end of the Bear Cubs’ game Saturday, K’Lan Anderson caught the game winning touchdown pass from Christian McAlvain with 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter, putting the Bear Cubs up by two.

It just goes to show that long snappers play a vital position on the football field, and they can ultimately make or break a game.