Weekend Full Of Surprises, Excitement And Near Upsets
Last weekend’s slate of high school, college and pro football games definitely were not for the faint of heart. There was a bit of everything offered during the three days and almost all of it added up to excitement for the diehard football fan.
The outcome of two Orange County high school games couldn’t be decided until the overtime period, while several collegiate and pro games went right down to the final gun. Both of the Lone Star State’s NFL teams had their final outcome decided on the last play of their respective games.
And the upsets were rampant in college and NFL games, with the total eclipsing two dozen. The No. 5-ranked Texas Longhorns knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma 45-35 Saturday in the Cotton Bowl and were rewarded by being named No. l in the Associated Press Poll this week.
This Korner was fortunate to witness several of these exciting games last weekend, starting with the big clash at Dan Hooks Stadium between the hosting West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Silsbee Tigers. It seems like every time these two teams collide a donnybrook ensues. And Friday night was no exception.
It’s always been the Mustangs who boast their Chain-Gang Defense that keys their success year in and year out. But Friday night Silsbee’s “bend but don’t break” defense kept WO-S off the scoreboard for more than three periods of play.
The Mustangs’ defense was good enough to allow only a single Silsbee touchdown in the second period, but the scoreboard read 7-0 until the fourth quarter, which over the years has always belonged to the ‘Stangs.
This time WO-S had to share the fourth period with the visitors, because the score was tied 7-7, Silsbee had the football and the clock was winding down the final minute of regulation play.
The Tigers, who had used all three time outs when the Mustangs had the ball, tried a desperation pass that was batted by a WO-S defender but caught by Silsbee wide receiver Chase Kelly, who headed for the Mustangs goal line but was tackled at the seven yard line with 10 seconds left in regulation.
Then quarterback Jeremy Johnson made a boo-boo he will remember the rest of his life. Instead of spiking the football so his field goal kicker could come in and win the game for Silsbee with a 24-yard kick, Johnson genuflected, and when his knee hit the turf the prayers of the 4,000 Mustang fans were answered as the Silsbee fans watched in agony as the clock ticked down to 0:00.
The Mustangs lost the flip for the overtime period and got the football first from the Silsbee 25-yard line. Senior tailback Quintavious Garrett scampered into the end zone from 11 yards out, kicker Justin Sparrow booted the extra point and the Chain Gang Defense rose up and stopped the Tigers cold on four plays giving the Mustangs a 14-7 victory and keeping the WO-S winning streak in District 21-3A alive at 25 straight.
The WO-S fans exiting the stadium unanimously named Silsbee quarterback Jeremy Garrett as the Mustangs’ Most Valuable Player of the game.
Orangefield’s overtime game didn’t turn out as well as the Mustangs did as Hamshire-Fannett scored during the extra period giving the Bobcats their third setback in four games, including a 0-1 record in District 21-3A play. Orangefield jumped off to an early 13-0 lead before the Longhorns rallied to tie the game sending it into the overtime period and winning 27-21.
We watched the Texas Longhorns come from behind several times Saturday on national TV in the Red River Rivalry against No. 1 Oklahoma as former WO-S Mustangs Deon Beasley and Earl Thomas helped the defensive secondary contain the mighty Sooners.
Thomas collected both of Texas’ interceptions to stymie a couple of Oklahoma drives including a desperation pass into the end zone of the final play of the game. The Longhorns, who were a seven-point underdog, pulled off the 45-35 upset that catapulted them from No.
5 to No. 1 in the AP College Football Poll while the Sooners slipped to No. 4. Texas was also ranked No. 1 in the USA Today and Harris polls this week.
Other previously undefeated Top 25 teams feeling the wrath of Ol’ Man Upset were No. 3 Missouri which was upended by No. 17 Oklahoma State 28-23, No. 4 LSU which was overpowered by No. 11 Florida 51-21 and No. 13 Vanderbilt, which was nipped by unranked Mississippi State 17-14.
Upsets also occurred to Auburn by Arkansas 25-22, East Carolina by Virginia 35-20, Illinois by Minnesota 27-20, Michigan by Toledo 13-10 and Arizona by Stanford 24-23.
Even our own McNeese State Cowboys (3-2) fell to Texas State 45-42 in the opener of Southland Conference play. The Pokes found themselves behind early in the fourth period 45-20, scored two quick touchdowns, were successful on an onside kick that produced another TD and made a two-point conversion with 56 seconds left but the Bobcats (4-2) recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Houston Texans won their first game of the season after four losses when quarterback Matt Schaub surprised the Miami defense by running a quarterback draw on fourth-and goal from the three-yard line as time expired giving his team a 29-28 win over the Dolphins (2-3) to the delight of the sellout crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The final play of the game was not as kind to the Dallas Cowboys (4-2), who had a punt blocked by Arizona’s Sean Morey in the overtime period that was scooped up and run in three yards for the winning touchdown by Cardinal teammate Monty Beisel, giving Arizona (4-2) a 30-24 victory over the Cowboys, who were favored by a touchdown.
Three other NFL games were decided on the final play as Atlanta beat the Chicago Bears 22-20 on a 48-yard field goal by Jason Elam as time expired, Minnesota nipped the winless Detroit Lions 12-10 on Ryan Longwell’s 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left and the St. Louis Rams got their first win on J.B. Brown’s 49-yard field goal as time expired 19-17 over the Washington Redskins.
KWICKIES…It looks as if the teams will be set for the 2008 World Series later this week as play continues in the National and American League Championship Series. In action through Sunday night the ALCS was tied at 1-1 between Tampa Bay and the favored Boston Red Sox while Philadelphia leads the NLCS 2-1 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won their first game Sunday night 7-2. The TV networks are rooting for a World Series between big market cities Los Angeles and Boston, but this Korner kinda hopes the Phillies meet Tampa Bay for the October classic.
Texas Tech moved up two spots to No. 5 in this week’s USA Today Top 25 College Football Poll. The Red Raiders struggled to a 37-31 overtime victory over stubborn Nebraska Saturday, upping their season record to 6-0. Texas Tech remained in the No. 7 position in both the Associated Press and Harris polls.
Former Port Neches-Groves and Lamar University golfer Chris Stroud picked up a nifty check for $156,375 when he finished in a tie for sixth place in last weekend’s PGA-Texas Open Golf Tournament held at La Cantera Golf Club in San Antonio. Stroud had rounds of 66-64-69-68—267 and finished six shots behind tourney winner Zach Johnson, who collected the $810,000 winner’s share. Orange’s Scott Sterling shot even par 280 and earned $9,090.
JUST BETWEEN US…The Sunset Grove Country Club’s board of directors met in a special session last week and decided to invite all DERA members to use its golf course for a fee of $25 which includes the daily green fee and a golf cart. Board president Frank Finchum said this deal will last until Dec. 31 or until DERA golf course re-opens from the damage caused by Hurricane Ike last month. Golfers must show their DERA membership cards at the Sunset Grove pro shop before teeing off.