Friday, September 29, 2006

Dora vs. Walker

My high school alma mater plays arch rival Walker tonight at Horace Roberts field. Last year Walker worked us over pretty well at their field in Jasper, but two years ago was one of the best high school football games I've ever witnessed.
The stands were packed on both sides of the field and the ABC 33/40 communications truck was parked on the hill near the 40 yard line and sports cameramen were shooting every play. The crowd was rowdy and a group of kids were shirtless with letters painted on their chests that read GO BULLDOGS.
Spirits were high as the coin was tossed. Walker won and chose to receive. The Vikings looked like a college team on the field.
When the whistle blew and play began, Walker marched down the field and scored 7 points before the lights got warm.
Not to worry, the Dogs were pumped. Quarterback Jorge Williams hit a wide open tight end right between the numbers, but he couldn't find the handle and the ball fell to the turf. The drive stalled without scoring and Walker quickly scored again. It looked like size was going to be a huge factor as the Vikings defense backed the Dawgs up deep in their own territory and a bad snap from center forced the punter to kick the ball back into their own end zone for a safety to avoid a Viking touchdown....Walker16 Dora Zip. Walker added another score before the half to push the score to 23 - 0.
At this point, even the Dora faithful were concerned. There were a few on the sidelines that were calling in plays, second guessing the coaches' game plan. The tension was palatable. I never heard a discouraging word from the sideline.
Late in the second half, Dora had the ball. There were a lot of long faces and the fans had ceased to be a factor. All of a sudden Chase Pierce took a handoff from quarterback Jorge Williams and dragged the right side of Walker's massive line for 8 yards. He burst out of the pile like a Phoenix and raced back to the huddle fired up....that was the spark. All of a sudden, the Dawgs came alive and started moving the ball and the fans got back into the game. Dora scored and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
'm not sure what the coaches said to the team during half time, but apparently it was something they needed to hear because except for one field goal, the second half belonged to the Dora Bulldogs. They scored enough to bring the score to 20-26.
Late in the fourth quarter, Jorge Williams connected with a Dora halfback on the Walker sideline and he raced 40 yards to tie the score 26 to 26. The crowd was hysterical. Apparently the refs were not as emotionally involved because Dora got flagged for celebration. The touchdown counted, but the penalty backed the ball up too far and Dora missed the extra point. Coach Wright was livid. He spoke at length to the refs but to no avail. To his credit, he got hot but he kept his cool. The other coaches kept the team calm and focused.
With the score tied, Dora had one more shot during regulation play to win the game. Jorge Williams threw a perfect pass to Marquis Chappel. It appeared that Marquis was held in the end zone by a Viking defender, but he still almost caught the pass with one arm. No flag was thrown. Time expired and the game went into overtime.
Walker won the right to have the ball first and overtime play began on the 10 yard line. The undersized Dora defense held tough for four downs stopping the Vikings on the 6 yard line a field goal attempt missed wide to the right.
Dora got a fresh set of downs on the 10 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage the Dogs got stuffed for a short loss. The second play, Marquis Chappel danced through the line untouched for a touchdown and the stadium broke out into pandemonium. The final score, Dora 32 and Walker 26. All the players and cheerleaders and hundreds of fans met in the middle of the field to celebrate.
I have never seen a group of kids play with so much heart. A lot of teams would have given up and would have been slaughtered by a larger foe. But the Dora Bulldogs clawed and scratched and gave 200% and they never gave up.
This is the first time Dora has defeated Walker since 1994. Dora moved their record to 4 and 0 for the year and they have won 24 straight regular season games.

Let's just hope tonight's game will be as good as the game two years ago.

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