Like a baseball pitcher trying to finish a perfect game or even a closer trying to nail down a playoff win, Brett Lauther wanted everyone to just leave him alone.
The Saskatchewan Roughrider kicker walked onto the field Sunday night about to try a 34-yard field goal that would send the Riders into the West Final.
“I was just trying to keep everyone away from me, I knew it was over at that point,” Lauther said.
“I didn’t need any extra pep talk — nothing like that. I told a few guys around: ‘Just keep everyone down and I’m going to end this.’”
He ended it, took a jog toward the north end zone appearing to repeat his Labour Day 2019 walk-off visit to Pil Country, but the opposite end zone this time, only to stop and wait to see what the orange piece of laundry on the turf was all about.
“I did a double-take because I knew as soon as that snap and Kaare [Vedvik] put it down, we had it — it was perfect,” Lauther said.
“I did a double-take to make sure it actually did go in and then after that, seeing the flag, I was just like: ‘There’s no way it’s on us.’ So I was just hoping that we didn’t have to redo it but also just trying to stop my heart rate for a second in case I had to go back up there.”
With the walk-off win and a recovered onside kick that led to a touchdown in a playoff victory, is this the biggest game of Lauther’s life?
“I feel like it definitely is up there,” the 31-year-old kicker from Truro, Nova Scotia said.
“It’s playoffs, it’s the time of year where you can do whatever in the regular season but we’ve been winning in the regular season, we haven’t got the job done in playoffs and especially at home.”
“I don’t think anyone’s had more home playoff games in the last couple of years and had more regular season wins, so finally right some wrongs and get a win.”
A perennial practice roster player for five years before joining the Roughriders in 2018, Lauther watched from the visitor Hamilton sideline as the Riders enjoyed their finest hour in the 2013 Grey Cup.
“My whole life, sitting here, five years not playing, where I was, no one will ever know the downs that I’ve been through,” Lauther said.
“To sit in front of you guys and be here right now, it’s like a movie — it’s surreal.”