MERRILLVILLE | There were a lot of jaw-dropping runs and spine-tingling tosses. One after another after another.
A 60-yard pass. A 57-yard run. A 10-second dance around a collapsing pocket before a big throw or thunderous gallop. That is a quick resume of the three-year career of Andrean quarterback Matt DeSomer.
But the biggest play he ever made might have been missed by many. It's not on any highlight video.
There were about five minutes left in last Friday's Class 3A state championship game against Indianapolis Brebeuf. The 59ers held a one-point lead at the Braves' 48.
Facing a third and four, DeSomer, with his right ankle heavily taped, took off around the right end. Brebeuf players defended perfectly. Slowed by pain, DeSomer somehow got the edge, stiff-armed a foe away and dove ahead for a 5-yard gain.
The drive did not end up with a touchdown. But it did take three minutes off the clock. DeSomer finished the season with 2,512 yards passing with 35 touchdowns and 1,607 yards rushing and 19 more scores.
But it was the slow, tempered 5-yard run that helped preserve Andrean's 35-27 win, the school's first state title since 2004.
DeSomer is The Times Offensive Player of the Year for the 2013 season.
"I wasn't at my fullest," DeSomer said. "It was enough to get me through the game. It was good enough. I knew it was important to keep the drive going and the clock running."
The Lowell resident finished the state championship game 11-of-19 for 137 yards and one TD. He carried the ball 15 times for 62 yards and another score. But those who'd seen him all season knew he wasn't 100 percent.
"There were things I couldn't do," DeSomer said. "But I gave everything I had."
Andrean coach Phil Mason was pleased with his team's play and the way DeSomer led. His only misgiving was that DeSomer could not show his entire game in front of Indianapolis eyes.
DeSomer is certainly a finalist for Indiana's Mr. Football award, which is enhanced by him leading an undefeated state champion who was ranked No. 1 in the state, which is rare.
"Matt is a gamer, that's what that 5-yard run showed," Mason said. "A lot of plays helped us win that game, but that was a big one. I wish the whole state could've seen him at his best.
"But he has done what I think a Mr. Football has to do."
It wasn't like Mason and DeSomer were best buddies this past summer. There was some serious friction between the two. DeSomer missed much of the humid training, playing baseball instead.
When he returned in August it didn't take long to see No. 3 would be No. 1.
"The break helped me out," DeSomer said. "It gave my mind a break. When I came back I really wanted to play football. It was my senior year so I wanted to give it all I've got. The whole summer coach was worried about me not transitioning with the team."
But after the 59ers dominated Crown Point in the scrimmage, DeSomer walked over to Mason and slapped him on the backside.
"I told you I'd be all right," he said.