dabbling in high-school football

October 21, 2006 on 12:15 am | In Uncategorized | 1 Comment

so y’all know those posts, usually at least once a season, when I come back from a game and just gush about how cool it was and how much I love New Jersey hockey? (try this one or this one or this one if you don’t know what I’m talking about) I’ve got one of those tonight for Texas high school football, and since the game was not in the coverage area of my newspaper, y’all get to hear about it.

I’ve started broadcasting high-school games here for TSRN Sports, and tonight was my first play-by-play assignment. I was dreading more than anticipating the game, however, because doing play-by-play means bringing and setting up the equipment, which is always a hassle, and just a lot more responsibility in general. And I was already stressed from starting my job this week and knowing that I have to go to work at 9 am on a Saturday morning.

So I wasn’t in the greatest mood heading to Thorne Stadium for the intra-Aldine ISD matchup between Eisenhower and Nimitz. And it just turned out to be awesome.

I got there early, loved the stadium (I think small college football stadiums should be built in its image), and set up the equipment without too much trouble. My partner was an inexperienced guy, and we had our problems, and the place was really cold (for football in Texas, not for hockey of course), but the game made up for it.

Nimitz came in 5-1 and Eisenhower 1-5, but the Eagles had played maybe the toughest schedule in the state, including three undefeated teams and the district leader, and Nimitz was only ahead by one game in the District 19-5A standings. Nimitz dominated the first quarter and into the second with a decent running game, but Eisenhower pulled to within 14-10 at halftime.

Perhaps the most amazing part of the game was the fact that Eisenhower had at least five players making major contributions at skill positions as sophomores – virtually unheard of in Texas 5A football. And they seemed to mature before our eyes, taking leads of 17-14 and 24-21 in the second half. Nimitz rallied to tie it 24-24 with 3:20 remaining, setting up a dramatic finish.

When Eisenhower took over, its sophomore quarterback dropped back and never took his eyes off the receiver in the right flat, allowing a linebacker to read it all the way and pick off the pass for an easy touchdown to give Nimitz the lead out of nowhere. It could have crushed the quarterback (making his first career start), but instead he led Eisenhower 70 yards, without a timeout, including two fourth-down conversions, for a touchdown to tie the game with nine seconds remaining. It was amazing.

Eisenhower then won in overtime 38-31, scoring on the first possession and stuffing Nimitz’s excellent quarterback on back-to-back short-yardage situations to finish it off. If you’re really curious, check out this video clip. Sorry there’s no crowd noise; there was on the broadcast. (I had an awesome shot of the tying touchdown, but my battery ran out.)
Anyway, it just restored my faith in high school sports and their worth, even if nobody was listening to the game. It was just plain fun, and definitely made me want to keep doing one game a weekend, even if it costs me part of my social life.

But I still have to go to work in the morning.


Oh yeah, before I forget. Of course I plan to maintain that new schedule page for all divisions if I decide it can be done. But I don’t know the algorithm or whatever that allowed the guys at www.5atexasfootball.com (the inspiration for the page, which I created myself) to make theirs automated, so it would be a third set of things I would have to manually update, which is really difficult.

1 Comment

  1. Good for you, Jon. We will, as always, rely heavily upon your website for schedule and standing info. I still think that you should be writing the hockey news for a major NJ paper.

    Comment by L. Powers — 21 October 2006 #

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