Monday, October 17, 2005

The Greatest Game(s) Ever Played

This weekend was truly a showcase of football greatness. I am not typically a college football fan (since my alma mater, Davidson, is not what you would consider a "big time" program...or even a "small time" program...or possibly even "worth watching"), but this weekend's matchup between USC and Notre Dame was arguably one of the best football games I have ever seen. My buddy Boland was fortunate enough to actually be at this game, though the outcome was definitely not what he was hoping for. For those of you that missed it, I'm sure it will be on ESPN Classic every day this week, as it is definitely a new instant classic.

However, it was not the only great game I was able to watch this weekend, because Sunday morning at around 10:15 AM, the second greatest game ever played in rec league football was just beginning. With several players missing from the Shockers (like the sexual move), we were forced to call in one sub and play with the bare minimum 7 players against the second place Rottens. A win would put us into second by 1/2 game, with only 5 games remaining. A loss would put us a game and a half back, and virtually out of playoff contention barring two miracles (or losses by the Rottens...your choice).

The Rottens got the ball first, and against our bare-bones team of players playing out of position, drove down for a quick score, taking an early 6-0 lead after a missed extra point. Our defense sured up on the next few drives, but our offense was having trouble moving the ball for the whole first half (including 3 botched snaps by our fill-in center), and a missed field goal to end the first half left us still down, 0-6. We start the second helf with the ball, though we're now throwing into the wind and getting more exhausted with each passing moment...then the miracle catch occurred.

We're on our own 30 or so. Francisco (one our receivers) is set to run a fly route from the left side, while I was lined up on the right slot, running a 10 yard drag. Our QB has some time (for once, we were overmatched in the size department too) and chucks it up for Fran. The ball's underthrown a bit, as Kevin always seems to do, plus the wind, but Fran gets his hands on it, as does the defender. The two of them are wrestling over it and they begin to fall down from the collision, the ball bobbling around in Fran's hands as they go...and that's when I make my break.

I'm close enough at this point and absolutely no thought is running through my head (per the norm) as I snatch the ball away from the both of them and begin sprinting down the field. Not since the time my Junior year of college when I outran a dog in a drunken haze (no, I'm not shitting you) have I ran so fast. Within moments I am at the twenty and realizing that I am way too out of shape to be pulling this shit. I hear a defender closing on me now as I'm running out of steam but his late dive to try to grab my heels is too short and I stumble into the end zone for the score, and we're up 7-6.

All of a sudden, the flood gates are opening as both teams drive quickly down the field, and we're sitting up 15-14, after two successful two point kicks, with a little over two minutes to play. We probably should have switched to a deep zone defense, but instead we stay with our 4 man blitz, and it costs play, 70 yard bomb, and they're now on top, 22-15, after a successful two-point kick. Now, we've got just under 2 minutes, three timeouts, and still only seven very tired players staring 70 yards at our goal. We pick them apart, 10-15 yards at a time, and now sit within striking distance, at the 25 yard line with 8 seconds to go. One last play, everyone into the endzone.

Kevin scrambles to buy some time and rolls to the left. He throws the ball up off his back foot and from where I'm standing on the right side of the field, it is obvious it is not going to make it into the end zone. The receiver and two defenders collide at the one yard line, and the ball falls to the ground as time expires.

Now that would be a good, though sad for us, ending, but I said this was a "great" game.

Laying on the ground next to the ball sat a flag, and this one's not over. Pass Interference on the defense, one untimed play from the one to decide the game. Where have I seen this shit before?

I stay in the backfield as a fourth blocker, as my brother rolls to the right on this final play. Their zone defense is covering our exhausted receivers well, so Kevin tucks the ball and sprints for the corner...extends the ball...and HE'S IN THERE FOR THE SCORE!

Now I'm gonna end this story here, leaving everyone with a victorious feeling inside, much like the triumphant Matt Leinart took USC in for the win on a final 1-yard run.

But didn't the USC kicker miss the extra point? These games were a little too similar in that regard.

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