Football: Monday Morning QB - Eastern Alamance
October 17, 2013By Kevin McCloskey of Western Alamance High School
I've got 2 words for you...
That's right... Whack! Thump!
Now if you're my age, whacky "action" words like this might bring back memories of the old Batman comic books and their clever word choices such as this:
But on Friday night, "Whack! Thump!
" sounded a lot like this: LINK
Granted... It is hard to hear over the crowd noise (including me screaming "Yeahhhhhh!!!!" at the top of my lungs), but if you listen carefully, you may just hear the following:
Whack! = The EA kicker striking the ball with his foot (his very powerful foot)
Thump! = The outstretched hands of Britt "Bond" Smith smothering the football and thus going down in the annals of WA football history as one of "THE PLAYS" that will live for many years to come.
High drama! I'm telling you, it was some seriously high drama.
The first 3 quarters of the game were hard fought, but not tremendously exciting. But the 4th quarter.... Be still my heart! Forget any of the new Fall TV dramas! If you wanted drama, then you should have been in Mebane on Friday evening. It was heart stopping; gut wretching; nail biting; and 100% completely exhilarating!
Western Alamance: 10
Eastern Alamance: 7
Not the "high scoring" affair that most prognosticators would have predicted, but it more-than-certainly lived up to the hype and pre-game energy.
What an incredible atmosphere! I've said it before and I'll say it again here... If I wasn't a Warriors fan, I'd be an EA Eagles fan. They are very much like us and truly a bunch of good people who love football and have the community/family feel very similar to what we have.
But "similar" is not the same! "Similar" is not better.
There's nothing like Warrior Football and I am a Warrior for life! As good as they are, we are better and the WARRIOR NATIONcame to represent!
It was a packed house and Warrior Nation put on the show of a lifetime! You guys were FAN-TAS-TIC!!!!!
In the 4th quarter, I seriously felt like I was at a college game. Most of the time, I really don't hear the crowd noise a whole lot. I just kind of tune it out if you know what I mean. But in those final minutes on Friday evening, it was impossible to shut it out!!
Seriously.... GREAT JOB! There is no doubt whatsoever that YOU helped contribute to this victory!
So let's talk about this victory... Just what does it mean???
- A claim to the conference championship is still within our grasp
- Very likely, we can secure a home playoff game(s)
- ACC! ACC! As in... Alamance County Champions!
- Pivotal, crucial swing in the season momentum
- Sets the tone to run the table!
Make no mistake about it, this game was B-I-G! Very BIG!
Last year, I mentioned the schedule having the equivalent to golf's "Amen Corner" at the Masters. A trio of holes/teams that would test your mettle. These teams come in succession and in the form of birds & Cougars: Northern Guilford, Eastern Alamance, and Rockingham County.
This year, Amen Corner was right there staring us in the face once again. With the loss to NG still gnawing at all of us, beating EA was just what the doctor ordered.
'Nuff said... It was HUGE and WE DID IT!
Now lets talk about the game itself...
VERY phyisical and hard fought game. You could probably see/hear it in the stands, but it was completely obvious from the sidelines that there was some serious hitting going on (by both teams). 99% of it was good clean hitting. There was some "dirty" stuff going on up close and under the pile (which it always does but this was a little worse than normal).
And lets be honest.... This was getting to some of our players. Ask Trey McCollum and he'll tell you that it was beginning to get to him. Trey's just a sophomore and some of the trash was starting to pollute his head.
That's when senior leadership stepped up! I bring this up because its one of those "behind the scenes" things that 99% of the people in attendance had no idea took place. And here's what happened....
Trey had gotten particularly frustrated after his helmet was unceremoniously twisted by an EA defender (this happened SEVERAL times during the course of the game). He came to the sidelines during a timeout and was about to lose it. That's when senior captain Justin Wilson stepped in and stepped up.
Justin got in Trey's face; facemask-to-facemask:
"Don't let them get in your head! Be smart! Stay calm! DO NOT LET THEM GET TO YOU!"
A couple of plays later, Trey set sail on a 60+ yard TD romp to put WA on top for good. And throughout the pressure packed 4th quarter, Trey played like a seasoned veteran. In other words, he played just like the guy who got him straightened out... Justin Wilson.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the player, Brock Deatherage???
Speed? - Sure
Big Plays? - No doubt
But how about this??? Solid.
Brock has become a very, very solid all-around football player beyond the highlight clips. Its kind of ironic how Ricky Portela, Kay, and myself will pick up on the same things. And Brock's improved overall play is one of them.
Previously, we just kind of waited around with our cameras waiting for Brock to create a highlight moment. Now, we are noticing Brock more on the "non-highlight" plays. He is really playing good football right now. He was like a heat seeking missile frequently traveling from sideline-to-sideline to make the hit. You could tell... He REALLY wanted this game!
And the physical play I referenced earlier.... Brock was "Exhibit A" in my statement. #14 is bringing the Pop!
I'm going to switch gears now and do a "brain dump" and throw out some miscellaneous obersvations that come to mind (not in any particular order).
- Lost in the shuffle... Outstanding punt/kick returns by J-Wil. Very gutsy. J-Wil often times will snare the ball at the last possible moment. His kick returns kept WA in decent field position throughout the game. Without them, WA would have been backed up deep it its own territory on several occasions. Aside from the kick returns, I commented in the post-game that Justin had a "quiet game." That was until I re-watched the video. J-Wil ended up with 9 "standout" plays. That's anything but quiet! Like Brock, Justin's growth as an overall football player has really accelerated this season. He's a complete player and the real deal.
- Speaking of Real Deals.... The WA DL got it done! TJ "Manimal" Harris is playing THE BEST football of his career. TJ had at least 2 sacks and is an absolute nightmare matchup for the opposing OL. Jamie Billings added a sack and runs through the opposition like the proverbial "Bull in a china shop." He's just a one-man wrecking ball. And Sr. DJ Elliott has really stepped it up and is making some plays. Major props to the Warrior DL! Git-R-Done big dogs!
- The offenses (both of them) were delivering as many blows as the defense. For WA, Donovan "YAC" Apple lived up to his nickname by initiating and pounding through contact on virtually every carry. And Trey McCollum is another "YAC" in the making. Although he's baby-faced, he runs the ball like a full grown man. Both Donovan and Trey rushed for over 100 yards. That's pretty impressive!
- ZERO turnovers for WA! At least I don't remember any. I know EA had lost 2 fumbles to us. Of all the statistics, turnover margin has the highest correlation with the outcome of the game. Summary: He who protects the pigskin, wins the game.
- Blake Deatherage really stepped up in this game. He's been playing "OK" thus far in 2013, but I've been waiting for him to have a "breakout" game. I think he did just that on Friday night. Blake was in on a lot of tackles and caused/recovered the Eagles' fumble on the 1-yard line to keep the Warriors in the lead late in the contest.
- Austin Joyce! Austin had a big hit during the game that surely energized the team and the crowd. Austin had already caught my eye on other plays and without any prompting by me, Kay also noticed the same thing. "Do you know who is having a good game?", she said, "#20." And she was right! Austin's coming on strong and I look for big things from him moving forward.
- And lets not lose sight of the seemingly "routine" 35-yard FG by Josh Price near the end of the first half. That FG got WA on the scoreboard and provided some momentum heading into the locker room at half time. And, coincidentally, those 3 points proved to be the margin of victory.
- Warrior OL - When the game was on the line, the OL came through big time. I can't say it was their best game of the season overall, but after Blake's fumble recovery on the WA 1-yard line, the WA O-Line paved the way for Donovan Apple to pound out yardage (and burn clock) as the Warriors got some much needed breathing room out to the 35-yard line before punting back to EA.
What's next??? Game 3 of "Amen Corner" and some much needed revenge vs. the Cougars of Rockingham County.
Our last 2 encounters with RC have not been good. To put it bluntly... The Cougars beat us up. RC likes to pound the football and run, run, run, run until you eventually succomb to the toll that it takes.
RC is not having the same level of success this season. For WA, this is good news but certainly not a reason to take the Cougars any less seriously. If/When we win this game, we will have gone 2-1 through the 3-game Amen Corner swing. This game is every bit as big and every bit as important as the EA game. And I'm putting it all in your hands.
Kay and I will be in Austin, TX next Friday night and will miss the game. So.... No video highlights. We do hope to have pictures through other photographers like Ray Sheibley and Anita Richard.
I know I'll be a nervous wreck waiting for text updates to come in from A.M. Primm Stadium.
We're having a good season. But to make it a "special" season, we need to win this game.
WARRIOR NATION - You've got to bring it again. Players. Coaches. Cheerleaders. Band. Fans. Lets do this thing. Lets build on Whack! Thump!
Special means more of this. When Coach Snuffer gets dumped on, that's a VERY good thing!