Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My first Football story

...and quite possibly my last. I was asked to write and shoot pics again for the local paper here in town...the 'once a week only parents read paper'....and yesterday my very first football story was printed. The editor praised my efforts,

I just read your story and it’s fantastic!

The Exeter readers are going to love this. It’s much better than any football article I have ever written for the Monarchs.

Great job!

and then promptly changed the opening paragraph.....UGH!!! And when I say changed, she added just one sentence (just one), but it was a crummy sentence and frankly it ruined the opening. I was tempted to curse out loud (instead I just did it subconsciously....but loudly!!!)

So here on my blog, I will post the story I wrote, my story my way. For the record, I don't think of myself as a great writer; I'm not sure I'm even a good writer. But I'm competent and I get the point across. I can occasionally even be entertaining....but whether my stories are good, bad, or ugly....I want them to be mine (ever the egotistical arteest). If I write crap, I will take the heat for said crap. I do not want someone else's crap under my name. No matter how nice a person I think they are (and she is a very nice person). Whew....

Exeter Slays Mighty Taft 31-7

It may have been that the only people in Monarch Stadium Friday night that thought Exeter could beat the Wildcats from Taft were the ones wearing the blue and gold down on the field. Before the game comments like, “I heard Taft had to bring two buses, they needed a separate one just for the defensive line” indicated that though the crowd came hoping to see a good game, they seemed more concerned with being able to leave at the end of the night without being embarrassed. On the first play from scrimmage, Taft running back Cody Sherriff ran 73 yards before being brought down by Austin Albison at the Exeter seven yard line. Two plays later Daniel Watts scored from the five to put Taft on the scoreboard. One minute into the game and the fears of many seemed about to be realized. The sense of impending doom settled even further when Exeter fumbled the ball on their own 46 yard line and Taft recovered. It looked like it was going to be a very long night.

But then the Monarchs did what only the Monarchs knew they could do. They showed the crowd, the reporters on the sidelines, and most importantly, the boys from Taft what they were made of. They dug in their heels and they held the line, stopping the Wildcats on fourth and three at the Exeter 29. From that play on, the game was all Exeter.

The scoring started slowly, after trading possessions of the ball and with 29 seconds left in the first quarter, junior Jaycee Totty made a leaping interception of a Wildcat pass. The Monarchs took the ball from their 48 yard line and marched down the field on a combination of Cameron Loeffler runs and a 17 yard Andrew Anderson pass to Heath Grim before being stopped on the 15 yard line. At 10:26 in the second period, Osmar Macias kicked a 32 yard field goal to put the Monarchs on the scoreboard.

On the next Wildcat procession, the Monarch defense stopped Taft once again and Exeter started marching down the field. With 1:45 on the clock and facing fourth down and seven, Grim caught another Anderson pass to give the Monarchs a first down and the ball on the Taft 15 yard line. Two plays later Loeffler crossed the goal line and Exeter took the lead. On the ensuing kickoff Taft's Watts returned the ball 41 yards to midfield and on each of the next two plays Watts broke away for fifteen yard gains, taking Taft into Exeter territory and down to the 36 yard line. Again the Monarch defense stiffened, this time forcing a fumble which Larry Turner recovered and returned for seven yards. Exeter ran out the remaining 35 seconds and went into the locker room at halftime with the score 10-7. Despite the lead, Exeter fans seemed hesitant to celebrate too early, the sense of ‘too good to be true’ was pervasive; there was still a lot of game to be played.

Questions remained as the team took the field in the third quarter. Would the Wildcats be recharged? Could the Monarchs hold the slim lead? Three points isn't much of a spread with the entire second half looming in front of them and thoughts of taking the field against a team coming off a Division IV Valley Championship season can be daunting. Exeter found itself in a David and Goliath situation, but apparently the hometown boys were familiar with the ending of that story. David doesn't lose.

And so the team of Davids, the team that many thought would be lucky to get out of the game with their health, began the onslaught. The Monarch offensive line took the ball in the opening series and moved up the field 80 yards in a drive that ate close to six minutes of game time and left no doubt in the stadium as to who was in control of this game. Loeffler scored the second of four touchdowns on a carry of six yards, adding to a total that would eventually climb to 270 yards for the night.

After the Exeter defense stopped Taft yet again, the Wildcats punted and the Monarchs promptly scored on a Loeffler run. The remainder of the third quarter and the rest of the game proceeded in like manner. The Exeter defense stopping the Wildcat run game and the Exeter offense controlling the ball, the clock and ultimately the game. Though the MEN in blue and gold scored only once in the fourth quarter, at that point the doubters in the stadium had been quieted and the reality of a win against a powerhouse was all but guaranteed.

Statistics for the night confirmed the unimaginable, the game that most had conceded to Taft before the night began, had been thoroughly controlled by Exeter. The Monarchs had 58 plays on offense and held the ball 26:37 compared to Taft's 45 plays and 21:23 time of possession. Quarterback Andrew Anderson was six of 14 for 53 yards and running back Cameron Loeffler added passing to his repertoire with one of one for 36 yards . Tyler Edwards caught four passes for 54yds. and Grim caught two for 27 yards. Taft completed only two passes for 18 yards and one interception. The Monarch defense was led by Colton Pacheco with seven tackles, Tyler Houk with six and Totty with five and the interception.

"We were outsized, but not outplayed," Coach White commented after the game. Loeffler was characteristically humble in his assessment, praising the offensive line and adding, "The defense played great. We didn't give up after the first touchdown. We couldn't let it get into our heads; we still had to play our game."

And play their game they did.

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