Most everyone at Qualcomm Stadium wondered what Bob McAllister, the gentleman coach at Carlsbad High who was about to win in a rout his third CIF San Diego Section Division I title in five years, was doing calling timeout with the ball at the 1-yard line and a 35-0 lead against Poway midway through the third quarter.

But if you know the story of Carlsbad linebacker Brock Butler and his sister Michelle, then it made sense.

High above the end zone, in a skybox, Michelle was watching the game. Michelle is recovering from a bone marrow transplant she needed to save her life from a rare form of leukemia. Because of her weakened immune system, Michelle’s doctors would only let her attend her first game of year if she was in a heated box, wearing a mask and away from the crowd.

When the story spread of Michelle needing a skybox in order to see the game, the high school football community responded. Georgiana Lapp, Carlsbad’s pep advisor, contacted KUSI’s Paul Rudy of the Prep Pigskin Report. KUSI made its Qualcomm box available.

The Chargers, who make the finals at Qualcomm possible by annually paying the stadium rent (or else the games would be at high school fields), had wide receiver Malcom Floyd stop by to visit Michelle and deliver a signed football.

Then came the bonus when McAllister signaled for a timeout. McAllister sent in Brock – a candidate for CIF Defensive Player of the Year – to take the ball for the first time in his career with a handoff into the end zone a la William Perry and the 1985 Chicago Bears. Brock went over the right side of the line, scrambled to his feet and pointed to Michelle in the skybox.

McAllister not only knows how to win CIF titles, he knows how to write perfect endings.

– TOM SHANAHAN

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