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Eagles Emerge Victorious in Battle of the Birds

October 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments

WOW… pause, sigh… wow, what a game! In what was easily the most gut-wrenching game of the season, the Eagles notched a 13-12 triple overtime victory over the Cardinals to move to 4-1 on the season. In doing so, the Eagles ensured at least a tie for second place in the STYFL Mighty Might Division.

It wasn’t easy, but the Eagles showed a truck load of heart in a game that frankly could have went either way. This was a game that was won on shear will and determination over a very talented team. Usually, it’s pretty easy to isolate the big plays in a game when I write these game summaries. This time… not so much.

There were so many huge plays I could talk about… from Trevor Caron’s incredible defensive play on the edge, to the stellar performances by Bay Finch, Drew Ball and Tristin Ingram on the interior of the defensive line, major defensive contributions from Tyler McGhee, Alec Deaton, Konnor Lemmons, London Darger, Lawrence Charles, Dason Gillespie and Javin Wright, to a bone crushing hit by Reed Erwin… and on and on and on. The boys played like champions on this day. “Heart”, “Toughness”, “Character”, “Courage”, “Perseverance”, “Determination”… you name it… they had it.

The game started off a bit slowly as the Eagles received the opening kick and stalled on their first possession. The Cardinals seemed to gameplan pretty well for the Eagles as they stacked the edges and contained the Eagles potent outside running game. The first couple of possessions eventually ended on downs, but the Eagles were definitely winning the field position battle as the offense was moving the ball, but coming up short of the endzone.

It was fitting that the games first touchdown came on a defensive play by Eagle safety Wyatt Harris. Apparently frustrated by their lack to get anything going on the ground, the Cardinals decided to try their luck through the air. Bad decision… the Cards ran a sweep to the right which evolved into a halfback pass. The Cardinal receiver was temporarily open until Harris stepped in front, snatched the pass for an interception and outraced the Cardinal defenders for a touchdown. The Eagles failed to reach the endzone on the extra point attempt and led 6-0.

The remainder of the first half was a defensive clinic by the Eagles. I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure the Cardinals never gained a first down in the first half. In fact, I’m all but positive that the Cardinals total yardage was in the negative. The defense was literally all over the field and the Cardinals didn’t appear to have any answers. Despite several drives where the Eagles moved the chains, including a first and goal, the Cardinals defense was also very good. The first half was a classic “defensive struggle” and it was only fitting that the Eagles led 6-0 at halftime on the strength of Wyatt Harris’ “Pick 6”.

The second half was nearly a carbon copy of the first half as the Eagles moved the chains, but failed to score while the Eagles defense feasted on the Cardinals stalling offense. The third quarter ended with the Eagles still ahead 6-0 and with the way the defense was playing, you sensed that six points was probably going to be enough to preserve the win.

Toward the middle of the fourth quarter the Eagles defense came up with another turnover on downs. Coach Gene had made some great adjustments earlier in the game and the Eagles were moving the ball nicely on a steady diet of run plays up the middle. With about 2 minutes remaining in the game, the Eagles faced a 4th and short situation that would have iced the game, but the Cardinals were able to get the stop near their own 20 yard line.

Once again, the Eagles defense took the field intent on ending the game right there and then. On the first three downs, the Eagles vaunted “D” did just that, stacking the line of scrimmage and swarming the Cardinals ball carriers as they approached the line of scrimmage. Then the unthinkable happened… with less than a minute to play in regulation, the Cardinals finally broke a run to the outside and took it 80 yards to tie the game at 6 apiece with the extra point pending.

The Eagles dialed up the defensive intensity yet again and stuffed the Cardinals extra point attempt to preserve the tie. The Eagles regained possession with less than a minute to play in the half and two timeouts at their disposal. The offense gained good yardage on the first two plays, but were still a long way from the endzone as the team huddled near midfield. On the ensuing play, Dakota Neer took a pitch on a sweep, reversed his field and bounced one to the sideline. The Cardinals desperately pursued the fleet footed running back, but from my vantage point, it looked like Dakota would score. With one defender left to beat, Dakota cut back sharply toward the endzone at the 5 yard line. The defender managed to catch just enough of him to throw off his balance. With time running down, the referees marked the ball at the three. Without any timeouts, Coach Gene feverishly tried to get the offense set to run another play. Unfortunately, time expired just before the Eagles were able to get the play off.


The Cardinals won the toss and chose to go on defense to begin the overtime stanza. Each team would start possessions from the 10 yard line until one team emerged victorious. If after the second overtime, the teams were still tied, both teams would get a crack at it from the 5 yard line. This is indeed what happened as both teams struggled to move the ball. (Side note: Dakota Neer suffered an asthma related condition after his exhausting run at the end of regulation and was unable to participate in the overtime).

After two consecutive possessions, the Eagles were given possession on the 5 yard line. Danny Kittner and Javin Wright, who had toted the majority of the Eagles overtime carries, both had tough runs to set up a 3rd and goal at the 2 yard line. Then it happened… Javin Wright took a handoff up the middle and absolutely would not be denied of the touchdown as he bulled his way into the endzone for the go ahead score. On the next play, the Eagles elected to go for one on the extra point attempt from the 3 yard line. Coach Gene dialed Kittner’s number and Danny answered with a determined run that crossed the plane of the endzone giving the Eagles a 7 point advantage 13-6.

The Cardinals took possession on the 5 yard line and ultimately overcame the Eagles front to draw within 1 point on a 4th and goal TD run. The Cardinals then elected to go for a 2 point try from the 10 yard line. A questionable call given that the Cardinals had only gained 10 yards on one play throughout the course of the game… but hey, we’ll take it! After calling a timeout, the Cardinals quarterback rolled to his right and fired a hail mary into the endzone. Danny Kittner jumped in front of the errant pass and intercepted the ball to preserve the win for the Eagles 13-12.

The sidelines and fan base went absolutely nuts as the Eagles danced on the field in celebration. It was a heck of a crazy game… in fact, I think it may have been the most emotionally exhausting football games I’ve ever witnessed. It was EPIC folks… the stuff of legends!

The 5th quarter brought more good news for the Eagles as the boys in green once again dominated the stanza and remained undefeated on the season. Mathew Moore and Michael “Flip” Alexander scored on long touchdown runs as the kids dominated 12-0.

With the win the Eagles moved to 4-1 and clinched second place in the regular season standings. The Eagles host the Special Forces next week to close out the regular season.

Tags: Football

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Coach Gene // Oct 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Once again Mr. Ball you have hit the nail on the head, the boys left it all on the field and I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them.

  • 2 H Harris // Oct 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I just love all those boys, they all did awesome. I personally think they are coached by the best! Great game.

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