Finally, a good game. I was talking to a knowledgeable fan in the stands about the other high school games that I’ve filmed this year. He was quick to inform me that only one, Shelby @ Lincolnton, was real football. He also told me that it’s a miracle that I haven’t gotten robbed at a few of the schools I went to. Maybe it’s time to bring back the neck beard to make myself look a little less approachable, or maybe I’ll get a taser for my birthday (hint, hint). This gentleman was quick to inform me that this game, Anson @ Sun Valley was real football. I’ll say he was right, and after a few of the usual pre-game gripes, I’ll tell you about the actual game.
Surprise, surprise I got there very early. I bought my ticket then went to a booth next to the ticket booth that had several Pepsi refrigerators filled with Coke products. The man working the booth said, “You looking for a ticket?” “No, I’d like to get two Cokes.” “Oh, I don’t do that on this side, they do that on the other side, they’re not ready yet.” Uggh. This was at about 6:00 and at every other game I’ve been to, the concession stands were open an hour before the game. This is only a concern of mine, because I can’t bring my own food or drinks into the stadium, and my camera bag and pockets have been checked at every game so far. I have managed to successfully smuggle in some Cheez-Its to each game though. I hide them, don’t ask where. Anyway, I have to get the food and drinks before I set-up, because I can’t leave, because I’ll get robbed, evidently.
I proceeded into the stadium and the ticket-taker lady said, “You’re taking pictures and they make you pay? That’s a shame.” Indeed. On a tip from a fellow filmer, I was going to shoot from the away stands for this game, because there is no press box access and the Sun Valley side gets crowded and lots of people stand up and would get in the way of the camera. At 6:25, there was not a single fan sitting on the away side and the concessions were still not open. I noticed a lot of people running around doing things and then it occurred to me that the teams weren’t warming up yet. Then I looked at the scoreboard and it was counting down from sixty-something minutes. Ahhhhh, it’s a 7:30 game. The newspapers around here say that all games are Friday night at 7:00 unless otherwise noted, it wasn’t otherwise noted. So when the concession stand opened promptly at 6:30, everything made sense.
Now, there were two windows, one window had two women working it. I went to the second window, because you know, it was open, thinking that one of them would work that window. Nope. By the time I made it back to the other line 3 people had jumped in front of me and I noticed a group of Anson fans moving towards the small visitors bleachers. By the time I turned away from looking at them, three people had gone to the second window which was now being worked by the second woman. MAD FACE!!!!!!!! By the time I made it to the bleachers, the only spot left was on the 35-yard line, not the best spot. Oh, and the couple next to me were eating take-out BBQ that they smuggled in from the outside. Pirates. I also heard an older lady say this after she had sat down in the row in front of me, “I’m glad we didn’t go all the way up to the top row. You know I’m dizzy as an alley cat.”
As for the game, it was good. Sun Valley was 5-1, Anson was 2-4, but you wouldn’t know it. As my new friend in the stands told me, there is Division 1 talent on both sides. For Sun Valley, a wide receiver #12, and for Anson, an outside linebacker #42, are definitely going to a Division 1 school next year. I want to say that they’ve both verbally committed somewhere, but I can’t remember, the game has me foggy. Sun Valley went up 7-o, then Anson responded with it’s own touchdown. The holder dropped the extra point snap, then took off for the left pylon and actually snuck in for 2 points to put Anson up 8-7. Very early on and you know that 1 point is coming in to play later. It was also at this point that I decided that I was going to have to take the camera off the tripod and go hand-held. Fans were standing up and cheering, as they should, but they were blocking my view. On the ensuing kickoff, Anson kicked the ball high and short and one of Sun Valley’s up men clearly fumbled, it’s on the film. While the ball was still bouncing on the ground, an official blew the whistle. Maybe he thought there was a fair catch called, maybe, I don’t know, there was really no reason for that whistle. The officiating crew responded by calling for a do over. Repeat, a do over. Anson got the short end of the officiating all night, so it goes.
Late in the first half Anson had a punt blocked allowing Sun Valley to drive for a touchdown. Then Sun Valley scored another touchdown later in the third quarter to go up 21-8. Anson responded quickly with a big pass play down to the 2-yard line and punched it in on the next play to make it 21-15. A few series later, still down six, Anson lined up to punt. The punter threw the ball high up in the hair, about 10 yards downfield. I’m not sure if this was to make the defense think this was a punt, because they couldn’t actually see the punter kick the ball or if it was a poorly thrown pass. Either way Anson had a man there waiting to catch it, but he got squeezed between three defenders. It’s a very questionable pass interference call, probably should have been, but it wasn’t. Check the tape for yourself. Anyway, Anson got the ball back after the next series, and used the same fake punt play on fourth down. This time it worked. It’s actually pretty unfathomable that this play worked after they had just run it. With not a lot of time on the clock, trailing by a touchdown, how is Sun Valley not ready for a fake of some sort?
Anson would drive down the field and score to tie the game at 21. Because of the earlier two point conversion, and extra point would put them up 22-21 with less than two minutes to play. They missed it. Sun Valley drove down the field and managed to miss a field goal to send us to overtime.
High school football overtime is the same as college except the offense gets the ball at the 10-yard line. Sun Valley got a touchdown on their first play. The quarterback had to scramble to the right and found a receiver open near the sideline in the end zone. Anson ended up throwing an interception in the end zone on third down to end the game 28-21 Sun Valley. Real football.