Sloppy fields, lousy play, upsets mar weekend football
Last weekend several high schools and colleges began district or conference play in Southeast Texas and Southwestern Louisiana and many didn’t start the way they were supposed to.
Other teams won like they were supposed to, but it wasn’t very pretty with some schools, and they paid a price in this week’s rankings. And in the pro ranks, the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys fizzled near the end of the game with mixed results.
Most of our area got peppered with driving rain Friday night which affected the high school football agenda with the sloppy gridirons producing some sloppy play in a few of the games.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs were completely stymied in Silsbee by the aggressive Tigers as the gusting winds and driving rain plus the solid play by the hosts sent the Mustangs to a 13-7 upset loss, their first in District 21-3A in five years.
The game marked the second straight setback by the once-ranked Mustangs and the third consecutive sub-par performance for the Dan Hooks-coached ‘Stangs. Now that the pressure of the winning streak has subsided, the team must regroup and find a way to take care of business for the remainder of the district schedule and qualify for next month’s state playoffs.
A similar situation happened in District 21-5A when Port Arthur Memorial upset Galena Park North Shore 7-6 in the driving rain and on a muddy field Friday night ending an eight-year string of district wins. It was also the second loss this season for North Shore.
Another team close to our heart that also faltered in the Southland Conference opener was our McNeese State Cowboys, who were nipped 16-13 by rival Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches Saturday night.
It also marked the second straight loss for the Cowboys, who lost to Tulane 42-32 in their last contest. And McNeese was picked near the top of the SLC standings by the preseason prognosticators, so the Pokes definitely need to pick up the pace the rest of the way.
Previously undefeated and No. 23-ranked Missouri hosted Nebraska on a rainy, windy Thursday night game in Columbia, Mo. and rode a 12-0 shutout into the fourth period.
But the ‘Huskers came to life in the final quarter and put up 27 unanswered points to knock Mizzou from both the ranks of the undefeated and out of the AP Top 25 Poll.
The same thing happened to 5-0 Auburn, which was No. 17 in the poll last week but was thrashed by unranked Arkansas 44-23 and fell right out of the Top 25. No. 4 LSU didn’t score a touchdown and lost 13-3 to top-ranked Florida in Baton Rouge Saturday night and plummeted to No. 10 in this week’s poll.
The Texas Longhorns started off sloppily Saturday night against Colorado in Austin and the mistakes cost 14 quick points.
Fortunately for the Longhorns former West Orange-Stark standout Earl Thomas picked off a Buffalo pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown, former Beaumont Ozen star Ben Wells recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown and Jordan Shipley ran back a punt for a score to spur Texas to a 38-14 win.
But because the ‘Horns were a 32-point favorite and the offense failed to run up the score on Colorado, Texas slipped down a notch to No. 3 in this week’s poll. On the other side of the coin undefeated South Florida was idle and moved up from No. 23 to No. 21.
And for the second time this season the Houston Texans failed to score a touchdown from inside the one yard line in the final minute and lost to Arizona 28-21 after trailing 21-0 late in the third period.
It seems like Head Coach Gary Kubiak is sharp enough to try something other than pounding the middle in that situation.
Not to be outdone, our feeble Dallas Cowboys for the second week in a row failed to stop a last-ditch drive in the final two minutes which resulted in the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been winless for the last 318 days, scoring the tying touchdown at 20-20 and sending the game into overtime.
Fortunately little-used Miles Austin, who was the replacement for Roy Williams who was the replacement for Terrell Owens, took advantage of his first start in the NFL to haul in 10 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 60-yarder that gave the Cowboys a 26-20 overtime victory.
Not only did Austin win the game for the Pokes but he also broke the 43-year old single game franchise receiving record of 246 yards set by Hall of Famer Bullet Bob Hayes in 1966 against the Washington Redskins.
It seems to this Korner that every time the Cowboys’ offense is about to go in the toilet, an unheralded hero comes along and saves the day for them, at least temporarily. Three years ago it was Tony Romo coming off the bench for the first time and lifting the team’s offense. This time it was Miles Austin.
It’s no wonder offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has been spotted backing up to the pay window on the first and 15th of the month. Maybe he ought to give more of the Dallas Cowboys’ bench jockeys a chance to show why they’re good enough to be called professionals.
KWICKIES…While handing out accolades for last weekend’s performances on the football field we must point out that former West Orange-Stark standout Jacoby Franks helped Texas Tech annihilate Kansas State Saturday 66-16 by hauling in a 72-yard touchdown pass.
Tiger Woods personally accounted for five of the United States’ 19 1/2 points as the U.S. golf team beat the International team in the President’s Cup by five points last weekend. Woods teamed with Steve Stricker to win four matches and then dominated Y.E. Yang 6-and-5 in the individual event. Phil Mickelson also scored well for the U.S. and defeated Retief Goosen 2-to-l in the head-up match.
And while on the topic of golf, the sport will be added for the 2016 Olympics for the first time since 1904.
The preseason games in the NBA are being officiated by replacement refs due to a contract dispute between the NBA and the game officials’ union. The main issues the two groups are at odds about are pension, retirement and severance packages. The NBA plans on continuing the use of replacement refs when the regular season begins later this month if the dispute isn’t settled. The NBA also locked out the referees for 68 days in 1995.
JUST BETWEEN US…We never really believed that our Houston Astros actually did play in the National League’s weakest division, but the proof is in the pudding and verified in the playoffs as the NL Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals didn’t even scratch in the best-of-five series against the LA Dodgers. Of course the same thing happened to the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins in the American League. There very well could be an All- Los Angeles World Series, although the Phillies and the New York Yankees should have something to say about this idea.