Fowlerville at Haslett:
In a game that was filled with defense-first mentalities, I was certain this game was headed to overtime. For someone to believe that with 6 minutes left to go in the game still is usually pretty ignorant about the sport of football, even if it is tied 14-14. But let me make my case here. Both defenses were shutting the opposing offenses down. The offenses were running the ball, not well I might add, but that is what comprised of what I would guess to be 90 percent of the plays. The air game was flat and uninspired, for the most part. But maybe I could attribute that to the secondary shutting down the wide receivers and forcing the quarterback to make some less-than-stellar throws.
Now here’s where football gets fun. Tie games with the clock ticking away in the fourth quarter usually means a little harder push from both teams to make something happen. More often than not, this leads to a broken-down assignment or a sloppy mistake, setting up another team to reap the benefits and make them look like super-stars.
Let’s take it back to where we left off… six minutes left, Haslett on their own 6 yard-line. With their backs against the wall, were they going to run it to try to create a little separation from the endzone? I thought so. Half of me was expecting a three-and-out and them to punt deep in their own territory. However, the other half of me was hoping for something exciting; a safety, fumble recovery in the endzone for a touchdown. But both offenses did a nice job taking care of the ball and had few miscues. A turnover didn’t seem to be in the cards with that kind of play.
And then something a little unexpected happened… Haslett started slowly marching down the field. They broke away from their six yard-line, picking up about 4-yards here, then another 8, then they would grab 5, and so on and so forth. Steady as she goes. It was incredible how they didn’t break a big play until they were already around Fowlerville’s 30 yard-line, and with a 20-plus yard carry to bring them into easy striking range they did it.
But when I looked up at the clock, there was just over one minute 30 seconds left to play. Haslett’s offense looked like it had complete control of the game. The coach drew up a plan to chew that clock up and it worked almost perfectly.
After they punched the ball in for a two-yard touchdown run, I was a little shocked. The discipline and the intensity that offense played with to drive the ball down consistently but calmly had not been there all game. I didn’t see the missed blocks or the lazy routes by the receivers.
And what better way to wrap up the game than a clutch defensive play? With just over a minute to go in the game, Fowlerville is all air-game now. As they approached midfield, their quarterback sat back in the pocket and saw a receiver running a deep post pattern. If he hits him there, the game is up for grabs again. The ball is launched towards him, and then cutting across the field is the safety who snares it out of the air with arguably the most impressive play of the game; not just because it finished the game, but because it was the most inspired and truly athletic play I’d seen.
So while the common theme of the game was a drawn-out run offense against stingy defense. The story of the night was that 94-yard drive and inspiring defense to cap it off for Haslett.
It’s there, they have the pieces in place, but they just need to find that consistency for the rest of their season.