When Vikings rookie punter Ryan Wright completed a pass for a first down on a fake punt last Sunday in London, a P.E. teacher watching 5,300 miles away in California all but jumped out of his chair.
Wright’s 13-yard pass to rookie receiver Jalen Nailor in the third quarter led to a field goal that helped the Vikings to a 28-25 victory over the New Orleans Saints. And watching on television was Eric Billeci, once Wright’s head football coach at California High School in San Ramon.
Wright, you see, was a quarterback for the Grizzlies. And Billeci, now exclusively a teacher at the school, was happy to see him wind up his arm one more time.
“It’s been a surreal experience,” Billeci said Tuesday about the reaction in Wright’s hometown, “I was watching and I’m thinking he’s going to boom it and then I saw him pull the ball up, and I was like, ‘Here we go,’ It was pretty cool.”
Billeci, who coached the California High football team from 2009-19, quickly fired off a text message to Wright to offer his congratulations. He hadn’t heard anything back by Tuesday afternoon, but that was understandable since the punter has been bombarded with messages.
“My phone’s blown up a little bit,” he said. “I have had to put it on do not disturb.”
Wright’s fake punt also has got plenty of reaction in New Orleans, where he played in college for…