Saturday, November 15, 2008

Greetings from LaGrange

We're here in LaGrange, Ga., to see Huntingdon battle the host Panthers for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and perhaps an NCAA Division III playoff berth.

Great sightlines here at Callaway Stadium, though it's going to be a blustery day. Don't worry, I have my trusty Baseball Hall of Fame sweatshirt on hand.

Check back for periodic updates.

11:55 a.m. Central: LaGrange recognized one of its player's parents ... for good reason. Army Major John Hanson just returned from Afghanistan. Freshman defensive back Gunnar Hanson is his son.

12:12 p.m.: Huntingdon thought it had done well when it downed a punt at the LaGrange 1. LaGrange yawned, drove 99 yards on nine plays and made it 7-0. It's the fourth time this season the Hawks have surrendered a touchdown on the opening drive.

12:13: That's also the first touchdown LaGrange has ever scored against Huntingdon in a varsity game.

12:30: End of one quarter. Huntingdon should feel lucky to only trail 7-0. The Hawks haven't done much. LaGrange has a 133-69 advantage in total yards.

12:43: The Hawks find some special-teams magic on a day they've struggled elsewhere. Cornelius Jenkins blocks a punt and Darius Chapman returned it 9 yards for a touchdown. It's Huntingdon's first blocked punt since October 2005. It's tied 7-7.

1: Cody Stepko kicks a 30-yard field goal. Huntingdon looks different since the blocked punt. It helped that LaGrange RB Mario Wallace (12 carries, 116 yards) was out the last series with an apparent right arm injury.

1:03: It's halftime. I'm heading to the car for extra insulation.

1:15: Insulation secured. Also found out that it was Xavier Singleton -- and not Darius Chapman who returned the blocked punt for a touchdown. Singleton and Chapman swapped jerseys today and Singleton is wearing Chapman's No. 30.

1:26: Wallace returned for the second half and was hurt again on the first play. He's in obvious pain as he comes off the field.

1:30: The Panthers finish the drive with a touchdown. A 47-yard kickoff return and Wallace's 7-yard run started it. A 5-yard pass from Drew Carter to Nick Langley ended it.

1:51: Major error by the Hawks leads to a LaGrange touchdown. Justin Ridgeway shouldn't have pitched the ball to Jamal Gardner, who shouldn't have tried to make something of it, either. Gardner held the ball in front when he tried an off-balance move. Stripped. Fumble. LaGrange recovery. Two plays later, a touchdown makes it 21-10.

2:01: Huntingdon dodges bullet. LaGrange appeared to have a touchdown but fumbled. Hawks, down 21-10, recover for a touchback.

2:03: End of third quarter. Ridgeway is having a wretched day. He's 5-of-20 passing for 30 yards and an interception.

2:14: Touchdown, LaGrange. A missed extra point makes it 27-10 and should about do it. The Hawks can ponder Carter's running ability through the offseason. He scrambled for 10 yards on a third-and-four in this drive. Carter scrambled for 21 on a third-and-10 earlier in the half.

2:20: Huntingdon suddenly finds an offense and rolls down the field like the breeze. Ridgeway was 3-for-3 for 49 yards in the drive. It's 27-17 with 7:40 left. The Hawks will still need quite a few breaks.

2:31: There's a break on the field with 3:56 left and Huntingdon trails by 10. Sounds like a perfect time for the Huntingdon band to play "The Final Countdown," doesn't it?

2:33: There's another break. At least the Huntingdon band didn't play "na, na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye."

No comments: