This is Bryson Gilbert, a sophomore running back at Fairmont Senior High School in West Virginia. On the morning of Sept. 5, he most likely sat down, ate a bowl of Wheaties and gulped down a can of spinach, Popeye style, because the double-hurdle move he performed later that day is one of the most incredible football plays we’ve ever witnessed.
Fairmount was playing North Marion in a game they would end up dominating 55-24. The play of the game occurred when Gilbert took a handoff on an option play, then skied over a defender at the 25-yard line. That wasn’t enough to demonstrate his outrageous leaping ability, though. Another would-be tackler stood between him and the promised land, but Gilbert leapt over him at the 4-yard line and barreled into the end zone for 6. The Vine of the play now has almost 150,000 loops, and has taken the Internet by storm.
“When the game first started, that’s the only way I was getting tackled, with the defenders hitting me in the legs,” Gilbert told STACK. “One of our coaches looked at me and said if they’re going to go that low, just jump over them next time, because I did it a few times last year. So I just kept that in my mind the whole time.”
As the first defender approached, Gilbert said he saw him coil up his body to go low, so he knew had to leap over him. The second defender, though? That wasn’t premeditated, just pure instinct.
Unfortunately, hurdling a defender like Gilbert did is illegal in West Virginia high school football (you can see a referee behind Gilbert throw his flag after the first leap). It’s a rule called “protecting the tackler,” apparently to keep the hurdler from kneeing the defender in the helmet or shoulder area. So, fine, the touchdown didn’t actually count. But the penalty ruling can’t take away from the amazingness of the play.
Gilbert, who credits his outrageous leaping ability to basketball (his other favorite sport), hadn’t even seen a video of the play until it started gaining steam on Twitter and people began tagging him in it.
“After the play, on our replay board, I tried looking up and watching it so I could see what it looked like, but too many of my teammates were running and jumping into me, screaming and everything,” Gilbert said. “All my coaches were jumping up and down and everybody was really hyped about it.”
Despite the fact that his double-hurdle touchdown got nullified, Gilbert ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. He says he’d like to continue to play football and basketball in college, but he’d be fine settling for one or the other. Something tells us this video will be appearing in the highlight reel he puts together when he starts reaching out to college coaches—if they haven’t already found him by then.