Friday Night Lights 2014, Week 9

There was a boatload of offense tonight at Bates Field in the final regular season game of the 2014 season. City High hosted district foe Muscatine in a rematch of last year’s first round playoff game.

With a 6-2 record, the Muskies had already secured for themselves one of the four district playoff spots. That’s right — four playoff spots for a six-team district. Since two-thirds of the district advances, City High, with a 2-6 record, still had a chance to play in the first round next Wednesday. Crazy, huh? The P-C spelled out a couple scenarios that would have the Little Hawks in the playoffs. A win against the Muskies would guarantee it, and an Ottumwa win against Prairie would give City High second-place in the district with just three wins. A loss and an Ottumwa win would get them in, too, but a loss and Prairie win would create a three-way tie for the last two spots. The tie would be broken by point differential.

Tonight was a weird night. It was wet after a little rain passed through the area, and also a little warm. Well, relatively warm for late-October. It was one of those nights when one is unsure how to dress. I was sure it would cool off at some point, but I was overdressed with pants, a sweatshirt, and a rain jacket at kickoff.

On the first possession of the game, the Muskies scored on a five-yard pass. The Little Hawks tied the game, 7–7, on their next drive, scoring on a 39-yard run that may have been a busted play. (It worked either way.) After a Muscatine three-and-out, City High pounded the ground. After spinning away from two defenders, the Little Hawks’ running back busted a 30-yard run. City High scored on a 15-yard run to take the lead, 14–7.

After it looked like Little Hawks had stifled another Muskies drive, Muscatine faked a punt to stay alive. They eventually scored on a six-yard pass. The PAT was no good so the score was 14–13. City High then drove the ball 98 yards for another touchdown on their next possession, extending the lead to 21–13.

After each team went three-and-outs, the Muskies notched a field goal with around two minutes left in the first half. City High got the ball and I expected them to drain the clock. However, after a first down run, the Little Hawks went to air. The incomplete pass stopped the clock. With three timeouts left, Muscatine suddenly had a chance to get the ball back and control the clock. A run out of bounds stopped the clock after third down and City High punted. Taking over on their own 38-yard line, the Muskies moved the ball and eventually scored on a 32-yard run. A two-point conversion attempt failed, but Muscatine took the lead, 22–21 at halftime.

It could have been worse. Right before halftime, a City High pass was intercepted and Muscatine returned it deep into Little Hawk territory. However, a pass interference penalty negated the turnover. A vicious and loud chorus of boos came from the visiting sideline. Amusingly, it was answered by a resounding “YAY!” from the home stand.

The temperature had dropped by halftime. It was not cold, but it was comfortably cool. Also cool, fog had slowly begun to build on the field. It continued to build during the halftime show, fitting for the marching band’s Halloween performance. By the time the Muskies kicked off to begin the second half, the visitor’s stand was shrouded by haze. The northeast corner of the field was completely obscured. As the Little Hawks made their way down the field for the first drive of the half, it was difficult to see the players and refs.

City High turned the ball over on downs at Muscatine’s 32-yard line. The Muskies took over and then scored on a 19-yard pass to extend their lead, 29–21. Yes, a pass in the thick fog. I assumed the fog would shut down the passing game, period, but it didn’t. On the ensuing drive, City High even gained 54 yards on a pass. I guess it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Anyway, the Little Hawks punched the ball into the end zone on fourth down. A successful two-point conversion tied the game, 29–29.

After the kickoff, the Muskies reclaimed the lead on one play, a 68-yard pass — in the fog! (It cleared a little bit when the breeze picked up, but it slowly built again.) A pick-six extended the Muskies lead, 43–29. City High then scored a touchdown but failed to convert a two-point attempt to close within eight points, 43–35. Muscatine recovered an onside kick and then slowly moved the ball toward the City High end zone, killing a lot of clock. The Muskies scored on a five-yard pass. Just after I told my dad, “I don’t think I have ever seen another team score fifty points at Bates Field,” the Muskies failed to convert the PAT after a bad snap, pass, and interception.

With the score 49–35, we headed out. It was a little sad since it was the last regular season game, but I am sure we will go to a game Wednesday night. It definitely will not be at Bates. Despite scoring another TD to close within seven points, the Little Hawks lost 49–42. Prairie destroyed Ottumwa, 48–0, which, I assume, means Prairie and Ottumwa win the tie-breaker.

Popular Posts