A little background: The National Prep Network gave me a list of about 10 high schools to film at this season. Four of the schools are in Raleigh, 4 hours away, 3 more are in Greensboro, about an hour and a half away. I have filmed all but one of the local teams on the list, so it was a pleasant surprise when Her Sweetness signed up for the Greensboro Cannonball Run Half Marathon.
We had reservations at a Days Inn which was 10 minutes away from Western Guilford, one of the Greensboro high schools. A note on the Days Inn of Greensboro…don’t ever stay there. It’s about a mile away from an airport, 10 yards from a major highway, and apparently close enough to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for race fans to stay there cheaply. We fell asleep to the sounds of airplanes landing, tractor trailers flying down the highway, and someone yelling, “Fu$% you, bi@!&” outside our door. It’s one of those places where you could exit a shower dirtier than you were when you entered it.
As for the football, well, the Western Guilford Hornets entered the game 2-6 and the Southern Alamance Patriots were 1-6, not the best records, but it was homecoming! I realized on my way into the stadium that I left the tripod-to-camera connector on my desk at home, so I’d have to film this one hand held-style. Oh, and it was already colder than I’ve been in three months an hour before the game even kicked off. I got a perch right in front of the press box on the 50-yard line on the giant slab of concrete bleachers.
Neither team was on the field for the singing of the national anthem, that bothers me, as a player I always liked it. Since neither team had a very good record I wondered who I was there to film. I assumed that it wouldn’t be a skill position player, because generally if you have a Division 1 talent at a skill position in high school, he alone can win you a few games. So I figured it was a lineman. I have a habit of seeking out #65’s on both teams, because it was my jersey number in high school. It’s a pretty unassuming number and hasn’t been made super famous by anyone. Well, #65 on Western Guilford towered over everyone else on his team during warm-ups so I assumed he was the guy. This was confirmed when a fan next to me asked me who I was filming for and who I was there to see. I said I wasn’t sure, but I’m assuming it’s number sixty five. I was right, I was talking to his father. I didn’t get his last name, but his son’s name is Brock and he already has at least nine offers from major Division 1 schools. His twin brother is also on the offensive line and is pretty damn good too, and they have rock solid GPA’s.
As the game started I found it odd that this Father was giving his sons some sort of hand signals related to their blocking. He isn’t a coach and was standing next to me in front of the press box. Eventually he walked down to the sidelines behind the bench and was talking to his sons right there. Maybe he’s a former player, maybe he knows what he’s doing, or maybe he’s just like Todd Marinovich’s dad, it’s none of my business, I just feel like you should know these things. He probably should be a coach, though. When the Western Guilford offense would line up at the line of scrimmage, their players would look to the sidelines. It seemed like their coach had some sort of “check with me” plays called a la Peyton Manning and he would decide what play to run once he saw the defensive alignment. As you’ll see in the highlight package, he’s no Peyton Manning as several of his decisions resulted in interceptions.
Western Guilford also had a bona fide college-style student section. I don’t know if this is a weekly, organized occurrence but about 40 fans stood together and cheered for the entire game. This is a common thing with college games, but it’s usually aided by a lot of the booze. I can only guess that these kids were fueled by Red Bull, some other form of caffeine, or maybe the cough medicine that the kids seem to like these days. I realized at one point that some of these kids represent the Class of 2014. How’s that for feeling old?
The newly crowned Homecoming Queen sat right in front me at the start of the second half. Normally I’d be honored to have royalty at my feet, but it seemed like everyone in attendance came to offer their congratulations, thus making it difficult to film without someone in my shot. But it was her special night, so I’m not angry.
As for the game, it wasn’t close. I guess I got spoiled at Sun Valley last week. Southern Alamance got ahead early and stayed there. Western Guilford made too many mistakes. Their kickoff and punt returners couldn’t seem to catch the ball cleanly so they were losing the field position battle all night. One botched shotgun snap flew by the quarterback and hit the referee. Had it not hit the referee, the quarterback would have recovered it easily, but the ball deflected right to a Patriot player. There was also a ridiculously quick whistle on one Hornet’s run, it’s in the video, but the game wasn’t close at that point anyway. I was debating on whether to mention this or not, but I will. Both teams had the very good kickers. One made a 42-yard field goal and his kickoffs sailed into the end zone regularly. The other made a long field goal as well. I can’t remember which was on which team, because, you know, they’re kickers. Ultimately, Western Guilford couldn’t overcome their mistakes and lost their homecoming.