First, quickly, yes I am kicking myself for staying up and watching Sunday Night’s game rather than Monday’s. I only made it about halfway into the third quarter last night, thus missed the replacement ref fiasco I had been hoping for. I say we keep it going! Don’t stop now, Goodell, owners, and referee union. Let’s drag this thing out as long as possible and see just how many ways we can screw up the season!
Alright, last weekend’s high school football action was a repeat of two things I’ve already seen this year: bad weather and a nail-biter.
I was traveling just up the road to cover our only undefeated team GHS, ranked #7 in 4A, take on a Catholic school that’s up my way. The Catholic school, GCHS, was 1-4, but their quarterback, who had led them to semi-state last year, was coming back after a five-game suspension.1 And they had beaten GHS the past two seasons.
So Friday I jumped in my car, drove five miles, and was there. Much better than driving two hours to Terre Haute. But, as with my trip to Terre Haute two weeks earlier, the western skies were black and storms were headed our way. They had already cleared the stadium before I arrived, and we weren’t allowed back in until 6:30. So kickoff would be at least 30 minutes late.
There was more lightning soon enough and the stadium again cleared, except for us in the press box, and we started another waiting period. Right around 7 the storms hit, with heavy wind, heavy rains, and eventually hail. We got word from counties to the west of games being postponed, so we all guessed it was just a matter of time. Finally at 8:00, they announced the game would be played the following afternoon. By the way, I highly recommend spending 90 minutes in an aluminum and steel press box during a severe thunderstorm for giving your Friday night a jolt.
This time I was able to go back on Saturday, and I’m glad I did. The hosts scored two quick touchdowns to take a 13-0 lead. One was a screen pass that went for an 86-yard score. GHS, which is a grind-it-out team, tightened up on defense and slowly got back into it, taking a 14-13 lead late in the second quarter. The winds were ridiculous, and GHS had to work from deep in their own territory on their final two possessions. One resulted in a short punt and quick score for GCHS. On the next, GHS fumbled and GCHS scored again. 26-14 at halftime.
On the first play of the second half, GCHS’ QB dropped back, looked all over for a receiver, stepped up, thought about it for about 10 seconds, and finally took off. Eighty yards later it was 33-14 and I was beginning to think about how I would frame my article about GHS’ perfect season coming to an end.
Not so fast.
Despite trailing by 19, GHS stuck with their ground attack. A score on their next possession cut it to 33-20.
They scored again on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 33-27. I started rethinking my story.
But they gave up another quick touchdown2 and it was 40-27 with 11 minutes to play. They might score enough to get back into it, but it was tough to see their defense stepping up.
Only they did.
GHS’ quarterback ran for two more touchdowns in the quarter, giving him five for the day. The final came on fourth-and-goal with 1:23 to play. The defense forced a key punt and then slowed GCHS down just enough to let the clock run out before they could get in the red zone. Pandemonium on the GHS sideline!
I raced down and talked to the coach, who was absolutely ecstatic. I’ve never seen a coach as pumped up about a regular season win. I didn’t have time to catch any players, as they all raced to the locker room, hooping and hollering, before I had a chance to grab any of them.
So for the 2012 season, I’ve had two games decided on fourth-and-goal runs from the one, one of those in double overtime. And I’ve had two games wiped out because of severe weather. Weird year in Indiana.
This week I get probably our weakest team, FCHS, against a conference foe that should take care of them pretty easily. They can’t all be instant classics, I guess.
Also worth noting that Good Ol’ ECHS is going for win number four this week. They play a home school team, so I’m confident they’ll get it. Looking at their schedule, there may be another win on it, so there’s a chance they’ll go into sectionals 5-4.
- The word in the press box was his parents pulled him off the team because his SAT scores weren’t high enough. That’s a pretty ballsy thing to do to a kid who will get some looks from small colleges – force him to miss half the season. I have no idea what the family’s financial status is – he is attending a private high school in an affluent community – but I admire his parents’ actions. ↩
- GCHS’ scoring drives for the game: 3 plays, 22 yards; 2 plays, 90 yards; 4 plays, 27 yards; 2 plays, 26 yards; 1 play, 80 yards; 2 plays, 58 yards. I’m bad at math and don’t know much about football, but I think that qualifies as efficient offense. ↩