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Great Clips of the Week: New Zealand fistballer makes remarkable catch; BYU's Zac Dawe throws a shoe

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Sep 9th, 2019 @ 11:03am



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MAKING SAVES AND SAVING WINS — For the first time in a long time, football was back this weekend in full authority.

From high school football, to college game day, to the NFL matinée and primetime Sunday, America's game filled the calendar with tailgates, touchdowns and ticker-tape as everyone predicted this year's Super Bowl champion (we won't do that here; let's just enjoy the season).

Among the highlights were Utah moving to 2-0 on the season with a thrashing of Northern Illinois, enough to move the Utes up to No. 11 in the AP Top 25; BYU rallying from a 13-3 deficit to win at Tennessee, 29-26 in double overtime; and Gary Andersen enjoying his second homecoming at Utah State with a 62-7 rout of FCS Stony Brook.

But before we enjoy some of those moments, let's take a look at a world-class athlete in a different sport — that is, fistball — making waves off the court.

As always, click the video above for all of our Great Clips of the Week.

The best catch you'll see all week

Samuel Kempf is an internationally renowned fistball player (yes, it's a sport — more on that in a moment). But his athletic prowess recently came in handy on vacation in Barcelona, when he saved a fellow roller coaster passenger's cell phone from certain destruction with quick wits and even faster hands.

Kempf's snare of a dropped phone while riding Shambhala at PortAventura in Spain recently went viral after he reached over another passenger as the phone flew past them while riding the ride.

The other passenger, who may be the first person in theme park history to be grateful to not have gotten the back-row seat, bought a copy of the video for Kempf as a sign of his appreciation. The fistballer then uploaded the moment to YouTube, sharing the heroic moment with the internet.

"The ride started and I totally forgot about it because I was just in the moment 'cause it was such a good ride and then after the first drop we rose up and I just saw the phone drift across my view so I reached out and managed to catch it," Kempf told the Timaru Herald, his hometown newspaper in New Zealand.

"I was sitting next to my cousin and she said she saw it but was too scared to let go so she was just gonna let it drop."

Kempf recently helped New Zealand to 11th place at the world fistball championships, a run that included wins over several European sides before losing to Chile, Italy and the USA.

Yes, the United States is well represented in world fistball. And a trip down another YouTube rabbit hole shows you just how much fun the sport can be. A combination of volleyball and soccer tennis, fistball is played with 5 players per team on a 50-meter-by-20-meter field, indoor or outdoor, with a 2-meter high net. That's roughly equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool, for those needing a visual comparison.

Players score points in much the same way as volleyball, though each "kill" must be struck with a closed fist and the ball is allowed to bounce once in between passes (except, obviously, on a 3-meter serve).

Here's a 101-level introduction to the sport, courtesy of the International Fistball Association.

Shoe flicker

BYU didn't find a lot of success early in Saturday's 29-26 win over Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee.

But maybe Zac Dawe was the surprise spark the Cougars' needed.

Dawe, a former state champion wrestler at Pleasant Grove, had the highlight of the first half for the Cougars when he pulled the shoe off Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano — and immediately hurled it to the sideline.

Note that: not toward the sideline, but to the sideline. His pass may have been BYU's longest of the first half as it cleared the huddle of players on the field.

And yet, that's not the most improbable thing that happened to the Cougars inside historic Neyland Stadium.

So you're telling me there's a chance

By all probability, BYU's win over the Vols shouldn't have happened.

Tennessee out-gained the Cougars on offense, held the visitors out of the end zone in the first half, and made BYU look a little like the Vols felt a week prior in a shocking loss to Georgia State (which finished 2-10 in 2018, if you haven't heard by now).

In fact, a Cougar win was so improbable that ESPN was virtually calling the game with 31 seconds left. That's when the Worldwide Leader's projection system gave Tennessee a 99.6 percent chance of winning, up 16-13 and with BYU pinned on its own 20-yard line.

Of course, that leaves a 0.4 percent probability. Which is just enough for Micah Simon to lose his man for a 64-yard gain, for Jake Oldroyd to squeeze his fourth field goal inside the right upright, for Talon Shumway to catch a TD toss from Zach Wilson, and then for the offensive line to carry Ty'Son Williams over the goal-line like Aladdin's caravan into Agrabah for the game-winner in double OT.

Simple enough, right?

Let's take another look back on the Cougars' first win of the season.

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