More Football Drama

J.P.Two weeks ago, the team played really well together.  They took on the Stallions, who were able to field a full team with a few kids on the bench.

The kids marched the ball up and down the field, executed, and did all the things they were supposed to do, and it showed in the final score –  25 – 0.

Last week they played the dreaded Raiders, and fared not nearly so well.  Blocking broke down, tackling was bad, they had trouble holding on to the football, nothing went well.  They were down 40 – 0 in the final seconds, and the one bright spot in the day happened:  James broke free, cut back across the grain, and outran the defense to the goal line for their only score of the day.

I think the kids are just plain intimidated by the Raiders.  I can’t really blame them, given all the things going on over there, but our kids are better than they showed.  They have the stuff to beat the Raiders, I’ve seen it.

Last night’s practice and today’s game were nixed for weather, and the final game of the regular season will be Monday night at 6, against the Redskins.

But James is once again a tight end.  Without warning, our original quarterback showed up on Thursday, and coach put him back under center.  I’m more than a little pissed about that.  Yes, he has more experience than James as quarterback, though his arm is neither more accurate nor stronger than James’.  Yes, James is a better receiver than he is, and yes, the team has a better profile with him under center and James on the end.  They do in fact have a better chance to win this way.  BUT.

BUT, he was injured before the first game, and we’ve seen hide nor hair of him since.

BUT, while other kids who are sick or injured show up at practice and watch and learn, OQB (original quarterback) has not been to practice since getting hurt.

BUT, James earned that spot by busting his ass and learning it.  He worked hard to get it, and impressed everyone with his ability to make plays from there, throwing, scrambling, and running.

BUT, James has led this team through thick and thin, been to every game, early to every practice so he could throw the ball and get more passes in.

BUT, while he was “injured” OQB was over practicing and playing for the middle school.

Incidentally enough, the final game for the middle school was Wednesday night.  On Thursday night OQB shows up for his first practice since his “injury”.

Now, I’m not a psycho little league parent, so I won’t be screaming at the coach about the unfairness of it, and up until this I was pretty impressed with the lessons the coach was teaching the kids about fairness and sportsmanship.  This is his first go at coaching, so he’s learning too.  James will be too old to play for this league next year, so he’ll be trying out for the high school JV squad, just so y’know.  In the off season, we’ll be working for him to earn a spot over there.   I’ve no doubts he’ll make that team.  I’ve talked with him about the whole switch at QB, let him know I understood why he’s feeling screwed, and reminded him that there are 13 other kids on the field that are depending on him to do his best at whatever position he plays.  I think he gets it.

But it’s still raw.

Two Weeks of Football

So I held off posting about last week’s game because I had some rather intemperate things to say about the sportsmanship of the Raiders and the style of football they’ve been taught to play.  Suffice it to say I don’t care much for the way they’re being coached.

**James Highlight**

We were down 35 –  0 with a minute or two left in the fourth quarter, the team is determined that they won’t be shut out.  Ball’s about on our 35 and James goes out on a crossing route.  The ball gets lofted and he goes up and comes down with the precious, and hauls ass for the goal line, the other big receiver a step behind.  James gets caught by three defenders on about their twenty, and he’s dragging them with him.   He remembered to keep the wheels turning for all he’s worth.  Finally, on about the ten, he gets spun around and is going down on his back with his head toward the goal and sees his other receiver.  He flips him the ball, and they put six on the board.  Final score, 35-7.

The kids really hung in, and played their best in the face of some serious crap.  They didn’t get shut out, and I’d be proud of them even if they had.   Good job lady and gentlemen.

On Thursday, Coach decided to appoint James starting quarterback.  He’s never played QB, but he’s got the arm strength and the instinct.  He just needs to learn the position.  Today, we had the Redskins again.  (Remember, his best friend is the starting QB for them, so this is epic story kind of ball.)

Our O-line wasn’t holding well today, but they were doing the best they could.  There were several big losses where James was on a roll out, ran too far back on his way around the end, wound up on his back.  There was one scary moment when he had his face smashed into the ground hard.  Welcome to football, James.  He sat a few plays trying to clear the cobwebs.

He did catch one pass when he pitched to the halfback who wound up in big doodoo well behind the line.  He saw James around the line of scrimmage and  heaved it to him, saving a big loss.  Way to keep your head about you, halfback.

It was raining and the ball was slick,  so this turned into a defensive struggle, though both QBs had their moments.  Late in the fourth we had the ball on their one, but penalties killed us and we didn’t score.  The Redskins had done the same, but we stopped them as well.  Both teams managed to put together a few good drives, but with about a minute left in the game, the score was tied at nil.

False starts continued to plague us, I guess the kids need to get used to James’ count.  Practice will cure that.  He managed to draw the Redskins offsides several times, though.

Anyway, the Redskins scored on a QB sneak with less than a minute to go, and then on a QB keeper for the extra point.

We got the ball back with 26 seconds left, hit the half back pass to the two, but didn’t manage to get it in.  A false start and a big loss put us back around the 15, and an interception on the goal line ended the game.

All in all, the team showed a lot of improvement over the last time we played them.  It’s a seven game season, and we have the Redskins one more time.  I’m looking forward to that game the most, I think.

James will spend the week working on leading his receivers and his footwork.  He’s got an odd drop that needs to be fixed so he can plant.   He threw several ducks today, and given that he’s not planting and the ball was slickerenaminnerspeter, it’s not surprising.