You just feel bad. Standing on the sidelines last night as the Eagle’s football team lost their 4th consecutive game to start the season, you just feel bad. When players are getting teary eyed after the game, you feel bad. When the bus ride home is quiet all the way back to school, you feel bad. You see the talent that this team has, so you just ask the question: How is it not translating to wins?
Before the game everyone was lost, everyone in the locker room felt confident. The Eagles are playing Brooklyn Center, a team that, frankly, New Life Academy has killed for the past 5 years. Even having one of the assistant coaches come up to me before the game and say, “I just hope [Brooklyn Center] is better and puts up a fight,” was affecting. You could tell the players and coaches felt like they could win this one. It was a promising sign.
The game did not start to well for the Eagles, however. The Eagles started with the ball and processed to go three and out. On their punt, the snap went over punter Nathan Perry’s head on down to the 10 yard line of the Eagles. Brooklyn Center took advantage of the early miscue and short field and scored a touchdown putting them up 6-0 early.
New Life got things rolling, however, scoring 20 unanswered points. A deep ball to Sam Horner tied the game at 6. A 9 yard run by quarterback Seth Rice gave the Eagles a 12-6 lead. Then linebacker, Ty Frazier, intercepted a pass and returned it 60 yards for the score, and after a pass to Sam Horner on the two point conversion, the Eagles led 20-6. Then there was a delay.
With 16 seconds left to go in the first half, the referees stopped play and sent everyone to the locker room due to lightning. This set up a 45 minutes break in the action that felt like 2 hours. Since it was so close to the half, they acted as if the lightning break was halftime. After the break (or halftime) is when the Eagles’ troubles started.
The field was wet. The ball was slippery. It rained a little bit off and on the whole game, but the conditions on the field were damp which caused a lot of issues for the players. Brooklyn Center started the 3rd quarter with the ball and marched right down the field and scored. They went for two and got it cutting the lead to 6. New Life struggled all game in their containment of Brooklyn Center’s star running back. I usually take stats, but since this game, the iPad I do stats on is not working. Unfortunately I have no stats on this game. I’m still guessing this running back/quarterback Brooklyn Center had must of had over 200 yards rushing. It was hard to watch a New Life diehard.
With the score 20-14 and the 3rd quarter about to end, New Life was driving looking to expand on their lead. The last play of the 3rd quarter ended in a snap going over Seth’s head and Brooklyn Center taking it 50 yards for the touchdown. Following another two point conversion, Brooklyn Center now led 22-20 and the tension began to rise on the sidelines.
Turnovers really hurt New Life Academy in this game. The ball was slippery and some of the snaps Seth had a hard time handling. With 5:15 left in the 4th, Brooklyn Center’s star player runs another one in. Thankfully they did not get the 2-point conversion, so it was still a one score game, 28-20. I just had this pit in my stomach the whole time, realizing what was happening and praying that it wasn’t going to happen.
The next drive for the Eagles, Seth Rice threw a deep pass to Ty Frazier for a 41-yard touchdown and the sideline went crazy. However, a penalty on the conversion and New Life failed to tie the game at 28. With score 28-26, New Life Academy needed one more stop. They got their stop with around 3 minutes to play and had the ball ready to go for the game winning drive.
The game took some weird turns then. New Life threw an interception. Brooklyn Center then fumbled it back to New Life. Then New Life fumbled with around 23 seconds to play, and the game was over. New Life had lost. Those events all happened in the last two minutes of the game.
That is when you felt bad. Having friends on the team, I know they work hard. It is just that, right now, they are not getting the reward they have hoped for. Their next game is homecoming week Friday September 26th against Concordia. The game will be played at Park High School. Come out on support the Eagles’ football program because sooner or later all this misfortune must turn around and become a positive for the Eagles!