Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.

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Happy Halloween from BRSN! Before gorging ourselves on candy (Ithaca pun), we asked some Big Red athletes about their favorite trick plays.

Lucas Shapiro ’15 (Football) – Ghostly Punt Return

So the trick play was a punt return we practiced my freshman year here at Cornell. A normal punt return features a return player who catches the ball and tries to find his way through blockers to return the ball for a touchdown. But the trick play we put together featured two returners, one on each side of the field. The blockers had their regular assignments. The ball was kicked to the returner on the right and he caught the ball. With the blockers rushing towards him, he took a few steps forward and then suddenly turned and threw the ball back across the field to the other returner who was standing alone. This returner caught the ball and had a wide open field to run for a touchdown. We had never shown this play to any other players on the team so everyone was really surprised. The trick worked perfectly.

Dylan Palacio ‘17 (Wrestling) – Wicked Weight Switch

In senior year of high school, my current Big Red teammate Brian Realbuto ’17 was quoted saying he was the best wrestler pound for pound in New York. I took it personally and made the decision to wrestle him the following week at tournament. I lost ten pounds to qualify and beat the three-time state champion in the final. I knew he would want a re-match so when States came around I had him thinking I would be competing at 152. Final weigh-ins took place in February. Realbuto checked in at 152 but I surprised him with 160, because I knew we could both do very well and that this way we could both become national champions in our respective classes, without taking away either’s senior legacy. Now we are both at Cornell and nationally ranked 4th and 5th in our respective classes. Though it was a nasty trick on my part, I see Realbuto as a role model who embodies all of the characteristics that I want to have. I wouldn’t have been able to master my style, believe in what I was doing, and find the confidence to just be myself on the mat if it weren’t for him.

Rob Hendricks ’17 (Sprint Football) – Monster Offense

During my senior season we played a spread offense for the first few games of football, but during practice we would do doing jumbo sets with 2 tight ends, 3 running backs, and no wide receivers. In other words, the opposite of a spread offense. One game we were losing 24 to 7 with the traditional spread, so we busted out in the second half with a jumbo set. It caught the other team entirely off guard and we outscored them 17 to 3 for the rest of the game.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.