O’Brien Callahan vs. Montreal
The Callahan is one of the most thrilling plays in ultimate; catching an opponent’s pass in their own end zone can swing momentum and easily change the outcome of games, and in some cases, can impact a team’s entire season.
In Week 11, the 1-6 Ottawa Outlaws traveled to Quebec City to take on their closest rivals the Montreal Royal. The Royal had a talented roster, yet were sitting at 2-5 and on the outside of the playoff picture. For the Royal, it was their most critical game of the season; win this game and the remaining four games after, and they’d have a good shot at making the playoffs for the third time in franchise history.
Montreal had control throughout the first half, despite Ottawa’s first callahan on second point of the game. The Royal went on a 4-0 run early and had built up to a 8-4 lead by early second quarter. But then the mistakes started to pile up, as four Montreal throwaways over the next three points led to an 8-7 game.
On the third point of the second half, Ottawa pulls to Montreal at 10-10. They hustle down and immediately set up a tight man defense near the Royal end zone. Moving from right to left, Quentin Roger throws a nice lefty backhand break to Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky into the left handler space. Roger clears out, and far side handler Jacob Saunders makes his way towards Poitte-Sokolsky for a dump option, tightly guarded by Ottawa’s Matt O'Brien. Poitte-Sokolsky’s options are quickly limited when teammate Laurent Faye joins Saunders in the backfield, clogging the space as Poitte-Sokolsky is forced to loft up a dump behind him to Saunders. But O’Brien is there, seeing the option the whole way and laying out past Saunders for Ottawa’s second Callahan of the game.
The Callahan gives Ottawa their first lead of the game. The next point is a first-throw D by Ottawa, as they break to extend their lead to 12-10. Neck and neck the rest of the way, the game goes into overtime, where the Outlaws eventually come out on top 22-21. O’Brien’s Callahan sparked the one-win Ottawa team to an upset road victory in Montreal, and all but eliminated the Royal from the playoffs in a top-heavy East Division.