The Big Game (Week 3)
Even though it's still early in the season, The Big Game arrived for us in Week 3. Taking a 2-0 record into the game, our opponent was 1-0. We had to only look at the film to gauge our opponent's 35-0 win to see how good they were. Defensively, they were aggressive and blitzed frequently. Offensively, they had a running back (#20) who was every bit as fast as our guy, but bigger and physical. For two days at our practices, I talked about their #20. Over and over I told our defense that #20 was eager to meet them, so that one day they could say that they'd actually played against him. I told our RB it was the game to determine who was the best RB in the conference. I was genuinely concerned about their #20, and when I watched him during warm-ups, I could tell he was the real deal.
On the opening kick-off, we kicked away from #20. Despite that, in a bold move he ran over to his teammate, took the ball from him and returned the kick. Our coverage team was down there in a hurry and we stuck him, good. He popped right back up, but as soon as he did, he looked a bit wobbly. I could tell he wasn't expecting to be hit like that. But no matter...on their first play from scrimmage he ran for 14 yards. On their second play, he ran for 25 yards. 39 yards in 2 carries. Yeah, he looked good. He carried again, on their third play. This time we stuck him good again. It was a short gain, but we made sure he paid the price. He got up slowly. On the next play, he carried again for very short yardage. Again, we stuck him hard. He got up again, but this time he went to the sideline. With their ball at our 13 yard-line, we stopped them for no gain. He came back in and they ran him again. This time he didn't make it out of the backfield, we were on him that fast. He got up slowly. He left the game and never came back.
We took over at our 18. On 1st Down, we completed a pass for 23 yards. And that was it; a gain of 1, 2, and 1 and it was time to punt. They took over at their 35, but we held and they punted the ball back to us. On our next possession, we could fare no better: 1 run, a completed pass for 1 yard, and an incomplete pass. We punted. I felt fortunate to be at the end of the 1st Quarter and have a 0-0 game.
In the 2nd Quarter, we held them again to 3 plays and a punt. We took over with good field position at their 43 yard-line. A penalty took us back 5 yards. On 1st and 15, we ran for no gain. On 2nd, we ran for 7 down to their 41. On 3rd and 9, we tried a double-pass. Our Slot ran the bubble, and our QB threw him the ball. He fumbled it, regained it and threw downfield. Our receiver was wide open for a touchdown, but the pass was under thrown. By the time he caught the ball, he was tackled. But we'd gotten a 1st Down at their 15 yard-line. Their blitz was giving us problems and we were trying to figure out how to handle it. Their defensive line wasn't rushing, but their LBs were. On 1st Down, we ran for no gain. On 2nd Down, we tried to freeze them, but they didn't move. We threw a quick slant, but the pass was high and went over our receiver's outstretched hands. It was caught by our opponent and he raced 85 yards untouched for a Pick 6 touchdown.
We'd managed to move the ball to their 15 yard-line yet not only came away with nothing, but gifted them a 6-point lead. They missed their Extra Point. Following the kick-off, we took over at our 28 yard-line. A 12 yard run by our RB gave us a 1st Down at our 40. He ran again for a 27 yard gain, but it was negated by a holding penalty. We threw deep on our next play. It was incomplete, but they were flagged for Pass Interference. With 1st Down at their 44, we ran for no gain. On 2nd Down, we again threw deep with the same result: another incomplete pass with another Pass Interference. Their penalty gave us a 1st Down at their 29. We ran Trap and our RB was hit at their 24, spun off and was tackled at their 14 yard-line for another 1st Down. A sack netted us a 6 yard loss, moving the ball back to their 20. Of course, this was all very frustrating. For every 2 steps forward, we'd take 1 back. For every momentum generator we got, we'd turn around and give the momentum back to our opponent. At their 20, we ran Trap again, our RB took it 20 yards for his first TD of the game. Finally, we'd tied the game at 6. On the XP, our kick was wide so we remained tied. And we remained tied going into the half.
With the game tied at 6, our opponent kicked off to start the 2nd Half. Taking over at our 30, we ran for 5, passed for 6, ran for 2, 1, 8, 0 and passed for a 3 yard loss. On 3rd and 13 at the 50, we dropped back to pass and threw our second interception. The momentum had definitely turned to our opponent. With a 1st Down on their 37 yard-line, they ran a sweep to the left and went 63 yards for a touchdown. They converted a 2-point conversion to go up, 14-6. Despite being down by only 8, the momentum shift seemed to be a lot more.
They on-sided the kickoff, but we recovered at our 46. We ran for 5, ran for 4 and then on a 3rd and 1, our Center snapped the ball before the QB was ready and we lost 6. We punted. They took over at their own 9 yard-line. Again they ran their sweep to the left for a 43-yard gain. Fortunately, a holding penalty brought it back. We held them til they punted and we took over with excellent field position at their 34. On 2nd and 8 and we ran a Sweep to the boundary and took it to the house for our RB's 2nd touchdown. However, we failed on the 2-point conversion by throwing our third interception and still trailed 14-12 with about 6 minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter.
Our opponent took over at their 27. And then it happened, the football gods shined on us. On 1st Down, their QB took the snap and pitched to their Tailback who was running a sweep to their left. But their QB's pitch was behind their Taliback and the ball rolled free. We recovered it on their 4-yard-line. On 2nd Down, our RB punched it in for his 3rd touchdown and we took our first lead at 18-14. We completed a pass for the 2-point conversion extending our lead to 20-14. We kicked off and with great coverage stopped their return at their 3-yard-line. They were able to drive the ball out to their own 33 before punting. Taking over at our 46, we marched 54 yards in 8 plays to go up, 26-14 and our opponent was done. Our RB ran for 4 touchdowns, cementing his status as the best Back in the conference. They confounded us with all sorts of problems, mainly their defense sending 6 or 7. We relied on the feedback of our oline to give us the info on how to block them (this ain't the Double Wing). Once we got that figured (midway through the 3rd Quarter), we wore them out. They were huffing and puffing for the duration. And despite several times where we were in trouble, we didn't panic and stayed the course. That puts us at 3-0 on the season.
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."
The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."
despite several times where we were in trouble, we didn't panic and stayed the course.
Often the difference between being good and great, right there. No Panic, stay the course.
Nothing like beating good competition to make the work feel worth it.
Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?