WINNIPEG, Canada — It was the moment every young kid dreams of. Fourth quarter, game on the line and your number gets called.
On Sept. 24, 2011, former Occidental College quarterback Justin Goltz had that moment.
The 2008 SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year was holding a clipboard on the sidelines for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, when the starting quarterback went down with an injury.
So with 9 minutes left on the clock against the Toronto Argonauts, Goltz finally had his first real professional football opportunity. He'd worked out for the Detroit Lions in 2009, played behind Daunte Culpepper in the UFL in 2010 and bounced around various leagues since graduating Oxy in 2008, but this was his shot.
His second pass went 18 yards for a touchdown and ended up being the CFL Play of the Year. The Blue Bombers lost the game 25-24, but Goltz was 3 for 6 for 36 yards and the touchdown. On the Blue Bombers final drive of the game, Goltz marched Winnipeg down the field to set up the game-winning field goal, but a penalty pushed them out of field goal range.
It all happened so fast, Goltz just had to rely on years of preparation.
"Honestly I didn't have time to think about it until after the game. Everything happened so quickly," Goltz said. "You just go in there and let your instincts take over."
Although they didn't win that game, the Blue Bombers had a great 2011 season, making a run to the Grey Cup — the Super Bowl of the CFL — before losing to British Columbia Lions 34-23.
"As a rookie going in, I couldn't ask for better start to my career," Goltz said. "It wasn't the Super Bowl, but they treat it like that up there."
Just a taste of success at the pro level was all the Walled Lake, Mich. native needed to recharge his goal of making it as a pro quarterback, one he decided was realistic while playing behind his good friend and mentor, the late great Oxy quarterback Andy Collins.
Goltz learned the quarterback position at Oxy while watching Collins, widely regarded as the most dominant Oxy football player in coach Dale Widolff's 30-year tenure who tragically passed away this summer at the age of 27.
Then when Collins graduated, he paved the way for Goltz to play professional football as well by having his own success in the Arena Football League. Before then, playing pro football was just a pipe dream for Goltz.
"He was the sole reason I had the confidence and mindset that I could further my career and play here," Goltz said. "He was like my big brother at Oxy. Certain things happen in your life for a reason and I owe a lot to him."
Goltz led Oxy to an undefeated Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season in 2008, completing 66 percent of his passes and throwing for 1,832 and rushing for 599 more. He threw 11 touchdowns and had just three interceptions.
Following his career at Oxy, Goltz participated in the Detroit Lions NFL mini-camp, played a partial season on the Monchengladbach Mavericks in Germany and played briefly for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL.
Though he's enjoyed some success at the pro level and plans to play as long as he can, Goltz knows that eventually the dream he's living will end. When it does, he'll use the money he's saved up from football and doing sports commercials, combined with his Oxy economics degree, to start his own sports nutrition and performance business.
Goltz lives in Redondo Beach during the offseason and is set to marry his fiancé Meri-de Boyer in March.