Home Local Sports ‘All She Wrote’: Stroman recounts role in memorable App State Hail Mary...

‘All She Wrote’: Stroman recounts role in memorable App State Hail Mary winner

Former RSHS football player Dalton Stroman (22) tips the ball to Christan Horn (13) on a game-winning Hail Mary pass. (Photo courtesy of Jim Dedmon, App State Athletics)

BOONE, N.C. — Before he found himself in a celebratory swarm of 35,000 people rushing the field at Kidd Brewer Stadium last Saturday, Dalton Stroman Jr. had to perfectly execute a play he’d run in practice numerous times.

An Appalachian State University redshirt freshman wide receiver and 2021 graduate of Richmond Senior High School, Stroman and the Mountaineers found themselves trailing Troy University by two points with 15 seconds left on the clock in regulation.

Little did Stroman know at the time, but by game’s end, he would find himself at the center of one of the school’s most exciting finishes in program history.

Three straight incompletions by senior quarterback Chase Brice set up a 4th-and-game situation with just two ticks left.

The Mountaineers ran a designed Hail Mary pass that saw Stroman race down the right side of the field before cutting to the right hash marks inside the 10-yard line.  

With the ball in flight, and leaping out of a huddle of five defenders, Stroman outmuscled linebacker K.J. Robertson to tip the ball at the 5-yard line. 

Sophomore teammate Christan Horn read the deflection and cut back to catch the ball. 

Rounding the right edge of the mass of players deep down field, Horn curled into the end zone for the 53-yard game-winning touchdown as the clock expired. 

Seeing the play come to fruition just like they drew it up at practice, the Mountaineers earned a 32-28 win.

“We do preparation of that play every Thursday and Friday at practice,” Stroman explained. “I have a 40-inch vertical and it’s my job to go up and jump and tip it or catch it.

“I was running down the field and saw Chase throw the ball and Christan was on my left right beside me,” Stroman recalled. “I knew I was going to try and tip it to him, and he caught it and started to run. Once I saw Kaedin Robinson blocking for (Horn), I knew then that’s all she wrote.”

Following Horn’s touchdown, Kidd Brewer Stadium erupted into a frenzy as thousands of fans poured out of the stands and onto the field in celebration.

“Man, it was crazy,” Stroman laughed. “I was in a pile of students, players and fans. It’s such a great atmosphere here. 

“This is one of my favorite memories and I helped make history as a sophomore.”

It was a big weekend in Boone ahead of the win, with ESPN’s College GameDay setting up shop at Sanford Mall for the first time in the show’s history. Host Rece Davis was joined by analysts Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, Pat McAfee and Lee Corso, among others.

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Celebrity guest Luke Combs, who attended App State before pursuing a career in country music, selected the Mountaineers to win, saying the team would be “laying lumber, no chance.”

Howard, Herbstreit, McAfee and Corso all chose App State to win, with Corso donning the headgear of Mountaineer mascot Yosef.

App State head coach Shawn Clark said the Mountaineers ran a play called Boise, which is a hook and ladder but as a Hail Mary. 

In his postgame interview, Clark said Stroman “is our guy to go up and get it, and if you watch the tape, it’s to a T how it’s supposed to be done.”

Through three games this season, Stroman has hauled in four catches for 57 yards.

In App State’s season opener against UNC, he caught a 41-yard catch and followed with two grabs for 14 yards in an upset win over then No. 6 Texas A&M on Sept. 10.

As Stroman gets more playing time this season, he’s also becoming more comfortable and confident in his role with the Mountaineers.

“Coach (Lawrence) Dawsey has really helped me a lot with my development and learning how to run routes,” Stroman, an exercise science major, said. “I’ve been practicing hard every day and executing my plays.

“It’s a great experience and I love it here,” he closed. “I know I’m a good player and I’ll continue to get better a be ready for when my team needs me.”

Stroman and the Mountaineers continue Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday when App State (2-1) welcomes James Madison University (2-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Boone.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.