High School Football Home Team: Worthington Kilbourne Wolves Visiting Team: Delaware Hayes Pacers Venue: Ron Hopper Memorial Stadium Game Time: 7:30 p.m. Fellow Attendees: None
The real story on this one, of course, is the game I didn't attend. Here's something I've never been able to say before: I voluntarily chose not to attend Troy's game tonight, not because of something else Brandi and I had planned, but because it wasn't quite worth it.
I say this with nothing but fierce love in my heart for the Trojans, but I knew they had little shot of winning, or even staying particularly close, in their game against the powerhouse Wayne Warriors. Not this year, at least. Still, if that was all there was to it, that wouldn't have been a deterrent. I've followed Troy to premeditated blowouts (in both directions) before with no compunctions. There were a couple of other factors at play. For one, the new running clock rule in Ohio high school football - I had a feeling the second half of this game would be played under this rule, making for a short game. Having already attended two Troy games played under this rule, I know how unsatisfying it has been to attend games that barely last longer than it takes for me to drive there. And two, true or not (probably not), I remember hearing rumors that Wayne ducked out of games with Troy back when the Trojans had Ryan Brewer in the backfield, saving themselves the embarrassment he regularly lavished upon opposing teams and leading to Troy playing such opponents as Akron Coventry and Columbus West, who provided no competition (or Harbin points) at all. While I admire the Trojans greatly for their unwillingness to take a similar stance now that the tables have turned, I still just don't really like when they play Wayne.
So it was that I found myself this evening at Ron Hopper Memorial Stadium watching the Wolves take on the Pacers, rather than at Troy Memorial Stadium watching the Trojans take on the Warriors. Worthington has three high school football teams; living in Old Worthington as we do, technically I suppose that Thomas Worthington is our "home" team. Unfortunately, they're terrible at football. Worthington Kilbourne, on the other hand, is pretty decent at football, and as Troy met them in the playoffs once upon a time (a Troy loss at Welcome Stadium in 1997, Brewer's junior season), I'm inclined toward them.
Being at the game was a little strange, never more so than when it turned out that Kilbourne and Troy have the same fight song. But it was fun. Kilbourne has a pretty good team, with good size and speed. I left after the third quarter, with the score at 22-0 in favor of the Wolves. Their quarterback had left the game with an injury, and it looked like they were going to use a DB at QB and run the wildcat for the rest of the game, which didn't especially interest me. And as that turned out to be the final score, it seems I didn't miss much.
There was a time--granted, it was mostly time spent living in Bowling Green, but not entirely--when I rarely missed a BG football game. That being the case, it's a little hard to believe that this was my first time back at Doyt Perry Stadium since two games (including the Boise State game) in 2009.
Really, it was just luck that we were able to come to this one. We came to northern Ohio last night for Brandi's alumni cheerleader night at Clyde High School. When I saw that BG's home opener was today, their first game at the Doyt under new coach Dino Babers and his "Falcon Fast" philosophy, I grabbed some tickets so we could be there to see it in person.
Now, I travel to Toledo at least once a month for work, so I drop into BG from time to time, but it had been a while since Brandi had been in town or on campus. That being the case, we decided to make a day of it, and it was awesome (more or less--more on that later). We came into town around noon and scoured around for a parking spot--which, between the game, the Black Swamp Arts Festival going on downtown, and a bunch of other events happening on campus, was harder than it sounds. We found one partway between campus and downtown and hoofed it over to Mr. Spots for a Philly cheesesteak lunch. It was awesome as usual, a literal taste of the days when we lived in BG.
From there it was back to campus, where we stopped at the Union to browse around the bookstore for a while. Then we meandered through campus, checking out old haunts and new buildings, on our way over to the stadium for the game. We had to venture over to the east side to pick up our tickets at will call, which took no time at all, and then we were finally in the stadium for the first time in five years. The Doyt is now one of the few college football stadiums to offer beer, so we grabbed a couple and headed up to our seats.
It's kind of funny, given how much I love going to Troy games, but I had actually forgotten how much I love going to BG games. The sheer spectacle of a college football game really makes the trip worthwhile, whatever the outcome of the game may be. It was a beautiful day, and we had so much fun being on campus and reliving old memories, and when the band took the field to play the alma mater, I found myself momentarily overwhelmed. That was followed by the national anthem and a flyover by a WWII-era bomber, which was really cool.
And then there was the game. After much hype, I finally got to see "Falcon Fast" in action...and I loved it. This is the way football should be played. Run a play, line up, snap the ball, run another play. It's awesome. It was also interesting to see James Knapke in action, starting at quarterback for the first time in place of Matt Johnson, who injured his hip in the first game at WKU and is likely out for the season. Knapke didn't need to do much, as the running game was in fine form and VMI was obviously overmatched from the start, but I thought he looked pretty good. He'll get a much stiffer test next week when the Indiana Hoosiers come to town.
The truly startling thing, for me, was just that I had never seen anything like this from a BG fan before. I know all fan bases contain all types of fans, but in all my years of going to games, this was honestly the first time I had seen such jackassery from a BG fan. So that was incredibly disappointing, and we ended up leaving early because of it (I told Brandi later that I would have rather just found another place to sit--there were plenty of open areas by then), but the game was well in hand, so it was all good.
And aside from that, it really was an awesome day. Hopefully it won't be another five years before we make it back again.
High School Football Home Team: Clyde Fliers Visiting Team: Eastwood Eagles Venue: Robert J. Bishop, Jr. Stadium (Piqua, OH) Game Time: 7:00 p.m. Fellow Attendees: Brandi, Steve, Mary Beth
Obviously, this was not the Troy game. The Trojans played in Cincinnati this evening; instead of heading south for that game, Brandi and I made the trek north for this game instead. Clyde is her alma mater, and they invited the cheerleading alumni to come cheer at the game. It was pretty cool to see her in her cheerleader mode, and I think she had a pretty good time, so it was worth it.
We got lucky to get the game in. There were some storms in the area that caused quite a few other games to be suspended. We did get rained on a little bit before the game started, but after that the only weather issue we had to deal with was the sheer mugginess of the evening.
And it turned out to be a pretty good game. The ol' alma mater prevailed, which is always nice. Of course, Brandi wasn't there to see it--her cheerleading duties over at halftime, she and Mary Beth left about midway through the third quarter to escape the humidity. Steve and I stuck it out, as the outcome wasn't certain until close to the end. It looked in the second quarter like it was going to turn in the shootout, as both teams traded quick-strike scores to close the half. But Clyde's defense really tightened up in the second half, and they added a TD late in the fourth quarter to salt it away.
I was pretty impressed with Clyde overall. Good team. Their quarterback was really solid. He made some good throws, scrambled some to get out of trouble, and did everything he needed to do. He also serves as the team's kicker, and I told Brandi, if I was a college scout I would have offered him a scholarship to kick for my team based solely on what I saw in this one game. Big leg. He did miss a long field goal, but it was long enough, just wide, and the fact that they even tried it says a lot to me. I was also impressed by the way their defense played in the second half, really controlling Eastwood's offense after getting burned by a couple of long runs in the first half.
Next week we're back to our regularly scheduled Trojan programming. Just like Week 1, I'll be at Troy Memorial Stadium as the 2-0 Miamisburg Vikings roll into town, and the Trojans will look to get into the win column for the first time.