Ridin’ The Pine column: Poor weather makes for fun football
Fauquier's Louis Heisler attempts to throw a pass in the rain last Friday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo
Bad weather makes for fun football.
That's a simple fact of life.
Kettle Run and Fauquier didn’t play particularly well Friday — combining for seven turnovers and myriad other mishaps — but they battled back and forth in the mud and extended the game to double overtime. So it was memorable.
"Greatest game I've ever played in my whole life,” Cougars running back De Jackson said after Kettle Run prevailed 18-15.
It certainly wasn’t the best performance of Jackson’s career, or the career of any other person on the field. But poor playing conditions have a way of diminishing expectations while enhancing ordinary accomplishments. A simple pass reception Friday, for example, seemed like an amazing act of God.
The muddy field also added drama and atmosphere. Fans in the stands shared the players' experience by suffering through the steady rain. For the players, rolling around in the mud was fun, an excuse to revisit pre-adolescence.
I also shared in the experience from the press box. A breeze came through the open window, and a rain drop even landed on my note pad. It was miserable!
Anyway, the game was fun to watch, even on replay. Only minutes after it ended, Fauquier’s coaches sat in their locker room office enthralled by a game video playing on a TV.
Falcon coach Jamie Carter didn’t need to see the film to assess the game, though. With his back to the video footage he said, “If that game came on TV, it'd be on Instant Classics right now.”
I’m not sure I’d go that far. It was a sloppy game. The playing conditions added to the charm, but detracted from the performance level.
Those 429 combined punt yards didn’t exactly take me on a thrill ride. Neither did the four missed field goals/extra points.
And I don’t think I’ve ever typed a box score that lacked an entry for one team’s receivers (Kettle Run went 0-for-4 on passes).
But that did give us this unfathomable statistic: Kettle Run is 2-0 the past two weeks despite completing 1 of 10 passes for eight yards and three interceptions.
Statistics aren’t what made Friday's game memorable, though.
It was the weather, the rivalry and a Fauquier rally that forced overtime.
"Awesome. High school football at its best,” Cougars coach Jeff Lloyd said. “In the mud, this is a game these kids will remember the rest of their lives. It was special.”
Nonetheless, I think the game probably should have been postponed like most others in Northern Virginia.
“Wettest game I've ever played in,” Jackson said. “Every time it was just like carrying a bar of soap in your hands. It was so slippery.
“It was fun, but the risk of injury increases a lot,” he said. “And everybody knows it's not going to be a high-scoring game. It's whoever can play smash-mouth the best will win.”
That meant we didn’t get to see the big-play potential of Kettle Run’s David Eldridge and Austin Lewis (two yards on three carries combined), and we didn’t get to see Fauquier spread the ball around with its receiver screen game (68 yards on 3-for-21 passing).
And, let’s be honest, playing in the mud is fun for a kid, but only as long as Mom does the laundry afterward and Dad re-sods the front lawn.
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