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From Nigeria to national champion: Mansfield's Ife Adeyi makes game-winning catch for Sam Houston football

The former high school kicker made the game-winning catch in the FCS National Championship.
Credit: NCAA FCS

MANSFIELD, Texas — In Huntsville, Tex., it's the play now known as "The Throw."

With 16 seconds left, Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid threw "a dart" to wide receiver Ife Adeyi for the 10-yard go-ahead touchdown.

16 seconds later, the Bearkats became the first school in Texas history to win the FCS Football Championship.

Sam Houston won a thriller over South Dakota State, 23-21, on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tex.

Schmid made "The Throw."

Adeyi made the catch.

Credit: Sam Houston State Football

"I went underneath [the defender], looked for the ball, found a hole and Schmid threw a dime right into my chest," Adeyi described.

Right into the hearts of Bearkat fans from Nigeria to Huntsville.

The college sophomore was born in Nigeria, but moved with his parents and siblings to north Texas when he was five months old.

A soccer player for most of his life, Adeyi converted from futbol to football at Mansfield Legacy High School.

"I made the switch to football in the ninth grade because I had more fun playing it," Adeyi explained.

Credit: Adeyi family

Of course, Adeyi served as the placekicker for Mansfield Legacy.

"I was so used to playing soccer, so doing that and punting came naturally for me," Adeyi continued.

However, Adeyi excelled most at receiver, due in large part to his speed.

In 2018, he won a pair of Texas state championships in track and field as a member of the 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams.

He still trains with his track coach during the offseason, which began on Monday -- one day after the biggest play of his life.

"Time was going down," Adeyi recalled of Sunday's championship-winning play. "I was like, 'We gotta move. We gotta move. We gotta score.' Because we needed a touchdown. Field goal wasn't going to do it in this case."

Adeyi made a tough grab in traffic by the South Dakota State end zone. He held on to the ball. The referees signaled 'touchdown.' And the celebration commenced.

For Adeyi, his family and his teammates, it still hasn't sunk in.

"Family is everything so to see them be happy for me and celebrate that with me, that meant a lot," Adeyi said. "And I had a watch party at home. I saw the video of them going crazy on Twitter. They all snappin'. It just meant a lot."

The play now known as "The Throw" would not have been possible without the catch.

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