Wildcats lose in the playoff blog
The trip to Waco started off innocently enough and right on time.
BUS STOP - the bus I was riding on with my family and other Sulphur Springs fans left right on time at 2 p.m. from the driveway near the tennis court. I was so happy to leave the driving to someone else. I had big plans of resting on the way down and working on the way back.
It didn't happen that way.
ON TIME - the trip took right at three hours, we pulled into some fast food restaurants near Baylor at 5 p.m. almost on the dot. After about an hour of folks scattering like quail to different eateries, we returned about 6 p.m. to find the stadium
GPS OH, YES - the driver, a transplanted New Yawker, followed his GPS to the stadium and the bus parked on the visitors side where most people were sat.
WALKING WITHOUT A WALKER - -One problem, I don't sit at games, I patrol the sidelines on foot. Same story for local, professional photographer Michael Laeding. So after not being able to sweet talk anyone at the gate to let in two bearded guys to the field, we took off on the long walk around the stadium, back to the home side. An just like we were promised, the official red sideline bracelets were given out, in the room right under the big red M. The nice lady did gave us some tips and we found the field by way of the home stands, walking out to the field, without making the long sojourn back around Panther Stadium.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION- we all got back to field and some 20 minutes before kickoff, who to my wondering eyes does appear, but the Baylor-grad and Waco expert, Luis Noble, photographer extraordinaire of the News-Telegram. He liked the lights, he liked being back in his old stomping grounds, he had even had coffee at his favorite shop, he was ready to roll.
ANOTHER BAYLOR former student, Sulphur Springs line coach William Blaylock, was also happy to be back in Waco. He said he thought he could find his way to Floyd Casey Stadium at night with his eyes closed. Not necessary on this trip. He still loves those Baylor Bears.
GAME NOTES - the game did not start out well as the Wildcats fell behind 21-10 after a sluggish first half. No. 8, Josiah Monroe was already living up to advance notices of his talent. Sulphur Springs had some dropped passes and seemed to be just a bit out of sync in the Class 4A, Division II playoff game.
Middle school coach Lawson Crook had been walking up and down the sideline, showing his state championship ring from 2008 to fire the Wildcats up. He said, "You got to get into the end zone to get one of these." The edict was followed.
The rally, the Wildcats put on a furious 20 point rally in the third period to get back in the game. Kendrick Daniels was running like evil demons were chasing him as he scored twice
The onside kick worked, the Wildcats were getting a few breaks. Sulphur Springs got within a touchdown. But then Bastrop came back and eventually won the game. Monroe to thank for some of his tricks.
SAD SCENE - I have covered high school football since 1978 and I must admit this old, crusty scribe got a misty feeling watching the Wildcats after the game, as they sobbed and showed the desire they had to win, but came up short. I was very impressed with their effort and I know they were heartbroken to go home from the playoffs after just the second week. They have loftier goals than the area title, they gave it their all. I appreciate them laying it all on the line.
NEXT YEAR - while the seniors were barely off the field, I started looking around and thinking about next year. The Wildcats will have some mighty fine talent in place and more coming up. Head coach Greg Owens has the blueprint in place, the Wildcats just have to reload for next year. I don't see a dropoff at all.
But that's next year and to many this 58-44 loss still stings.
WAY HOME - my laptop had just half power, I discovered. So I decided to wait to write by main story. I was afraid the computer would quit in mid-story and since I had summarize an emotional area playoff game with a combined total of 102 points, I am glad I waited. So I got back on the quiet bus, tried to get over the letdown of the situation. My mind still occupied by the disappointed teens with teary eyes singing the schools song, for the seniors it was one last time. I sat back to ponder the end of the football season. A few more weeks earlier than I had planned.
Then we drove off into the cool night air.
The wheels of the bus went round and round.
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