No complete Saturday morning rewind in the HS football neighborhood this day because last night all the games in Guilford County were rained out with the exception of one:Eastern Randolph at Southeast Guilford. They played the game and it was just like we said yesterday. In the words of the great theologian Opie Taylor, “It was a sight”. A sight to behold, a sight to be seen, I ‘aint never seen nothing like this before and I hope I never do again. Is this really happening?
They played the game and they might have sent the history of high school football in Guilford County back a few years in the process. It was a mess. I have never owned an Umbrella in my entire life but I stopped by the Dollar General on Liberty Road and picked one up for $4.20 on my way to the game.
When I finally got down to Southeast Guilford right before kickoff and swam across the parking lot and headed into the stadium, I realized that it was too late to make it up to the pressbox and that I would be taking in this football game from the sidelines over by the track. And it rained, and it rained, and it rained, and it let up for a second, and then it poured, and then it stopped or let up a bit, and then it rained, and it poured and rained some more.
It rained all night long and I was right out in it with my Chevrolet NASCAR top-of-the-line umbrella from the Dollar General. My only question is, why did they have to play this game? Nobody else played last night. My belief is that SEG coach Fritz Hessenthaler felt that if his kids could score first and with the conditions like they were, then the SEG Falcons would hang on and win.
SEG did score first and took a 2-0 lead when the Eastern Randolph kicker turned and booted the ball out of his own end zone for a safety after a bad snap. Southeast later scored on a pass play from QB Luke Stewart to Ricky Ellison(a guy that Falcon fans say should have been getting the ball more all year) and at that point SEG was up 8-0 and the Coach Fritz strategy was working. The problem with that is, ER finally figured out how to get going and scored on a short run and hit for the two-point conversion and we hit halftime tied at 8-8.
Nobody scored at all in the second half and you could see Coach Fritz was switching his approach to, “let the clock run out and we will win it in overtime”. ER got the ball first in OT with four cracks at the end zone from the 10 yard line and the Wildcats completed a pass on second down for the TD and Miguel Uribe kicked the extra point through to make it 15-8 ER. SEG had their chance and QB Stewart ended up getting sacked pushing the Falcons back to the 28 yard line on an 18 yard loss. A pass by Stewart failed on fourth down and the Falcons had failed again in their quest to beat ER.
Eastern Randolph wins it in OT 15-8 and I’m still trying to dry out. In the numbers game SEG completed 1 pass for 41 yards and that got them their only TD. ER completed one pass for 15 yards and that proved to be the game-winner. SEG ran the ball 34 times for a total of 21 yards, while ER picked up 100 yards on 49 carries.
Did Coach Hessenthaler make the right decision by deciding to play the game in the severe rain? It looks like in the end that by choosing to play, everything may have back-fired. The guy at the gate said that when the Refs walked in before the start of the game they commented that they didn’t want to be there. They had to go find the Refs so that they could start the second half, 4 of the 5 had disappeared. Coach Fritz told the News and Record, “I wanted the kids to play and have the same experiences I had”. The Falcons were trying to get a win and it went the other way and they’re not feeling too good about it on this Saturday morning.
On the other hand, the SEG cheerleaders were diving in the water along the sidelines and doing running water slides for the TV and newspaper photographers. They were soaked like everyone else but the cheerleaders turned it into showtime. Time after time, they would take off running and go sliding through the water.
It turned out to be another one those nights that you will never forget for all the wrong reasons. It was a crazy night but thank God I stopped and bought that new Umbrella at the Dollar General on Liberty Road.