For those of you who don't have the stomach for my previous columns about high school football, as fascinating as they were, here's a quick summary of the last two games of my high school alma mater, the one where the son of good friends plays. He's the reason I've been going to the games. Unlike Congressman Foley, I'm no longer hanging out at the hotdog stand trying to pick up teen boys.
Last week they lost a wild one for
the conference championship by one touchdown, 47-40. The last team with
the ball won. This week they won a wild one 46-45 over a ranked team. The last team with the ball won.
The Ugly Details:
The score at halftime of the game they lost was a mere 14 - 14.
Unfortunately, thanks to a mismatch in the defensive backfield, the
score jumped to 34 to 14 [them] by the end of the third quarter. Game
over? People began to leave the stands. But
the kids never quit. Recovered fumbles, onside kicks, you name it, they
Last night my friends' son had over 100 yards of combined yardage
before halftime. The week before he returned a kick off 68 yards, which
led to a touchdown and sparked his team's final comeback, even though they
came up those seven points short.
But last night, unllike last week, they didn't lose, beating the
12th [or 10th or 21st, depending on which poll you follow] ranked team in the state by one point in triple overtime. They are
6-2 for the season which qualifies them for the play offs. And more
stomach churning excitement.
You need a defibrillator to attend
these games, what with all the picks, fumbles, greasy hand offs, bad
kicks, flat out miracles and last second comebacks.
"Our" QB started last night's game by throwing two interceptions and
fumbling the ball. His fumble went for a touchdown. For the other team.
That didn't bode well, especially since the other guys had a 6'5"
receiver with speed. An Irish Randy Moss.
I recognized the Randy Moss kid's name. It was the same as his dad's.
Living most of my life around this area, I realized I had played on a
really good softball team with the Randy Moss clone's mother and four
of her husband's sisters. Randy's mom even decided to become a tennis
pro in her forties and was good enough in a year to get hired by a
local club. Then I also remembered that last year, her tall,
fleetfooted spawn singlehandedly beat us in the playoffs.
Last night, during the THIRD overtime, the score was tied 45-45,
exchanging field goals and two touchdowns apiece. But after the other
team's last touchdown, their PAT was no good. One more point and we
We were lucky to be there. With less than two minutes in regulation, in
front of a homecoming crowd, the good guys were down eight points,
29-21. But, like the week before, they never quit. This week they got a
last second touchdown and tied the game with a two point conversion. Time remaining: 1:15.
Now in the third overtime, calling
two timeouts to let their opponents' kicker think about his important
kick had worked. He missed it.
But, after we scored a TD during our turn, since you take turns during
an overtime, it was our placekicker's turn to wait. Naturally, the
other team called two timeouts so he could get all hinky and screw up.
Tick tock tick tock.
When it was time for the kick, our head coach couldn't watch. He was
going to let the noise from the fans tell him if we had won the game.
the kick went through the uprights and the refs threw their arms in the
air, the stands eruptied. Then they emptied. The entire student body
was on the field surrounding the players -- jumping, hugging, screaming.
You know the drill. It was freezing cold, but there was a whole group
of shirtless boys painted in school colors running around like wild
I had five layers of clothing and a blanket over me. But when the game
finally ended I suddenly felt very cold. For four hours, adrenaline had kept me
warm in the unseasonably cold weather. Now I needed some
hot chocolate. I wanted to pour it over my head.
I'm too old for this.