Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eagles Roll On, Fog Rolls In

Friday night I attended the football game between Arcadia's Rio Hondo Prep and Santa Fe Christian (SFC) from Solana Beach at Del Norte High (located in 4S Ranch, a community of San Diego).

Not just another game, this was the Division IV Southern California Regional championship.

While showing some of the traditional and non-traditional pre-game preparations and cheerleader acrobatics, the connection to one of the teams will be covered.
Jake Bailey (Number 5 on SFC [red jerseys]) handles place kicking and kick-off responsibilities and plays defensive back on defense. He is the son of Brad and Susan Bailey.
Susan's parents, Dick and Karen Allsing; Brad's parents, Stan and Shyrl Bailey; Susan's brother, Steve Allsing, his wife, Courtney, and their sons, Nick and Alex; and I, Karen's cousin, were in the Santa Fe Christian stands.
At kickoff, it was cold and damp.
After a scoreless first quarter, Rio Hondo Kares put together two touchdown drives,
but the Eagles followed with two touchdowns to tie the score at 14-14 with 53 seconds left in the half.
The Kares drove deep into Eagles territory and with 0.8 seconds left on the clock, the quarterback made a backward pass to a receiver who then launched a pass into the end zone. (The ball is at the top center of the photo below.)
The ball was batted up in the air and the crowd in the end zone hid the outcome of the batted ball.
All that we could see at that moment were the raised arms of the Rio Hondo player in the end zone. His touchdown sign was quickly confirmed by an official. Halftime score: Rio Rondo 21, Santa Fe 14.
It was the kind of ending to a first half that can be demoralizing or energizing to the team on defense or the team on offense, respectively.

Occurring at the end of the game, it can lead to a legend of "The Catch" or "The Play."
But as the second half began, Santa Fe did not appear to be devastated by the play that ended the first half.

A 32-yard field goal by Jake brought the Eagles to within four points of the Kares.

But the fog's presence began to creep into our awareness.
As the third quarter continued, memories of the 1988 playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles were revived.

Bears linebacker Mike Singletary called the game that has become known as "The Fog Bowl" "a supernatural experience."

Eagles quarterback Cunningham said, laughing, "We could probably have had the whole team on field and people wouldn't have known."
It was a strange experience. A play would be run, players would stop moving, and silence would follow. Three or four seconds later one of the sidelines would cheer as the outcome of the play became known and the crowd's reaction would follow.

One inventive fan seated near us announced a plan: "On the count of three, everyone BLOW. 1-2-3 -------."
But the Santa Fe Eagles were able to score near the end of the third quarter. I couldn't see the touchdown, but I could see Jake kick the extra point.

Numbers that seemed to be floating in mid-air indicated that Santa Fe Christian led 24-21 at the end of the third quarter.
Rio Hondo scored with less than six minutes to go in the game.
But with the help of a 37-yard run by Hunter Vaccaro (photo below), who had scored two touchdowns in the first half, the Eagles scored on Terry Harper's second touchdown of the second half.
But Jake's extra point kick was blocked (see the upper right corner in the photo below). The Eagles led 30-28 with 2:20 left in the game.
The threat to win the game with a field goal ended when a Kares' pass was batted by Jake and intercepted by Slater Howe.

It was a game played by two skilled, well-coached teams and ended with a recognition of each other's play--as the fog lifted.

I was able to get this photo of Jake without his helmet.
It was a mighty fine game. Santa Fe plays next Friday for the state championship.

No comments: