Evan Richmond had run the fade route hundreds of times.
Taking off from the line of scrimmage, he would head straight downfield and then fade to the sideline, hoping to catch a pass thrown over his defender’s head.
On the first Friday evening last October, it was still in the first quarter of Sun Prairie East’s high school football game at Watertown, Wisconsin, when he seemingly ran the route to perfection. Evan, who goes by Richie to everyone but his dad, beat the defensive back covering him, caught the pass thrown by quarterback Jerry Kaminski and landed on his back, the football tucked against his left side.
As the cheers dimmed, he lingered on the grass, just one yard shy of the goal line. After a team trainer ran out for a quick check, he slowly rose to his feet.