Quinton Stirsman had to make the catch.
It was fourth-and-6, in the fourth quarter of a semistate game against Avon, with a chance to play for a state championship on the line.
The chance to play for a state title fell into his hands — literally — as he caught a pass that gave Center Grove a first down, keeping the Trojans’ drive, and season, alive.
The gloves that covered Stirsman’s hands once belonged to his favorite professional football player: Indianapolis Colts’ Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
And though he’d like to take all the credit for making one of Center Grove’s biggest plays of the year, he does attribute the catch to the gloves, which have a lot more grip than anything he had ever worn, Stirsman said.
Stirsman’s received the gloves from a family friend who works for the Colts. The family friend got the gloves when Hilton moved on to a new pair.
Stirsman received them during the regular season after a win against Lawrence Central. When the Trojans’ playoff run began, he decided to wear Hilton’s gloves every game.
“It was actually a risk to wait until the playoffs to wear them because I wasn’t used to them,” he said. “They’ve actually turned out to be the best gloves I’ve ever owned.”
Stirsman said he plans to reach out to Hilton on social media if the Trojans win Saturday’s Class 6A state championship. After the season ends, he said his mom will keep them with his football gear and other memories from his high school career.