Friday Night Lights 2015: Week 1 (continued)

Let’s try this again.

After their game was postponed due to lightning, Regina and Solon took to the field for a Saturday night edition of Friday night lights. And, unlike we feared, the game was free so my old man and I reclaimed our places at the fence in the northeast corner of Regina’s field to get our money’s worth for Week 1.

It was nice evening and night. The weather was pleasant, the sun set slowly behind the trees of Hickory Hill, coloring the fluffy clouds scattered overhead, and the game started on time since there was no sophomore game beforehand.

It was a relatively sloppy first half. Regina received the ball first and turned the ball over with an interception on the third play of the game. After the turnover, Solon drove the ball with purpose and looked to be on their way to scoring. However, the Spartans fumbled and the Regals recovered on their own 12-yard line.

The penalties started piling up. Illegal procedure, holding, defensive holding. An ineligible receiver penalty negated a long pass play for Regina and they needed to punt the ball away. On Solon’s ensuing drive, the Spartan’s gave up a sack on first down and fumbled the ball on third down. Regina recovered and started a drive on Solon’s 22. A block in the back penalty negated a long yardage screen play. Solon declined an illegal procedure penalty on what I think was third down, but then the Regals opened the scoring with a 34-yard TD pass and a successful extra point. AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” played before the Regals kicked off, which I thought was a little ironic for a Catholic school.

The Spartans were intercepted on their next drive and Regina scored on a 48-yard QB run. Another extra point increased the Regals’ lead to 14–0. The Spartans punted and then got the ball back with an interception at the beginning of the second quarter — the fourth turnover of the game.

It was Week 1, so the turnover- and penalty-prone play was not unexpected. Even the referees were not at their best. They took a number of official timeouts, huddled to conference, and took forever to make calls. After the interception, Solon started their drive deep in Regals’ territory. The refs flagged the Regals for a pass interference penalty on the 11-yard line, I believe. The refs advanced the ball nine yards and the next play was 2nd-and-1. What? I couldn’t remember what the result of the penalty was — 15 yards or half the distance to the goal? — but it wasn’t nine yards and a loss of downs. I thought about yelling at the ref on the near sideline but they eventually realized something was amiss, huddled, and decided to give Solon a first down. The Spartans then cut the lead in half with an 11-yard TD pass and PAT.

A funny series of plays happened on Regina’s next drive. The Regals were set up in shotgun and when the center snapped the ball it rolled back to the QB like a fumble. Nobody else on the line moved for a second and it seemed like a busted play. The QB took the ball and ran outside to the sideline for what seemed like an improbable gain. He was trailed by a couple Spartans and they pushed him while he was going out of bounds. The referee threw a flag for a late hit. My dad called bullshit, but the players standing along the Regals’ sideline obscured whatever happened after the players ran out of bounds. Perhaps it was a borderline call. Perhaps the refs thought so, too, because they called a hold on the next play for what could be considered a possible makeup call.

The Regals eventually punted, but got the ball back with an interception — the fifth turnover of the game. A 31-yard drive ended with a six-yard QB run into the end zone. A PAT made the score 21–7.

The score was the same when the half ended after a couple uneventful drives by each team. That’s when we decided to call it a night and head home. I think it was the first time I have ever been to a high school football game on a Saturday. Honestly, I think it was much better than being at Kinnick on a Saturday night. There were a lot less drunk assholes (probably none) and we had much better “seats.”

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