Willy Ervin didn't get many chances on the football field this season.
In fact, the former Viking quarterback reluctantly got just one.
The Marietta Pioneers were trailing by 31 points to Muskingum with almost no time left on the clock when Willy Ervin was finally brought in. It was the final drive of the final game and a comeback was out of the question. The chance to prove he was better than the bench wasn't.
It had been a long game for the Pioneers, who trailed 38-7. It had been an even longer four years for Willy Ervin, who supported his team from the bench the whole time.
But the backup quarterback had stuck it out, and the fans had noticed.
"Suddenly we heard someone in the stands say put the chemistry kid in, and it was the head of the chemistry department," Mike Ervin said.
Willy Ervin, a chemistry and math major, started gaining more support from the stands as the game dragged on and the deficit deepened.
Finally, with 3:20 left on the clock and a hole too deep to dig out of, the coach could no longer ignore the crowd.
Willy Ervin was in with something to prove.
It had taken the Pioneers almost 45 minutes to grind out one touchdown against the Fighting Muskies. It took Willy Ervin about 2 minutes and six plays to lead his team on a 68-yard touchdown drive.
Wearing his usual pink gloves in support of breast cancer awareness, the senior went 2-for-2 and ended the drive with an 18-yard TD shot.
The Pioneers didn't get the win, but Willy Ervin had led them out on a wining note.
The offensive line surrounded their backup quarterback, and in a Rudy-like moment one of his teammates hoisted him onto his shoulders.
"After the game he said, 'Dad that whole 2 minutes was for every Pop Warner coach, every high school coach and every old teammate who never got to play again,'" Mike Ervin said.