Friday Night Lights 2015: Week 2

Expect and accept the unexpected. But also expect the expected.

That is what I have learned over my many years of watching sports. Sometimes a game can be stranger than fiction — something nobody in their right mind could imagine. But sometimes it seems you’re holding the script in your hands. That’s kind of how it seemed on one play during Friday night’s Bettendorf-City High matchup.

Dad and I arrived at Bates Field late, toward the end of the first quarter, because it had been hot all day and dad did not want to go until 8 p.m., until it had started to really cool down. Bettendorf was already ahead 10–0 when we sat down. Bettendorf was driving, but when the drive stalled the Bulldogs attempted a 49-yard field goal. It fell short — barely. On City High’s ensuing drive, the Little Hawks drove down the field thanks to a 62-yard screen pass. A 10-yard TD pass into the end zone and successful PAT cut Bettendorf’s lead to three.

On the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive, it looked like the CHS defense had Bettendorf stopped. It was third-and-23 from Bettendorf’s 29-yard line. However, Bettendorf’s QB broke away for a 71-yard TD run. A PAT pushed their lead back to 10, 17–7, which was the halftime score.

After a Bettendorf three-and-out, City High took possession and threw an interception. A man sitting a few rows behind us was so pissed he threw his water bottle down and made the metal stands ring. However, the Little Hawks recovered a fumble on their own 29-yard line. They moved the ball down the field, even converting on fourth down. A beautiful pitch play took them to Bettendorf’s two-yard line.

It seemed like the Little Hawks were on the verge of making it a three-point game with a touchdown and PAT. But here’s where the game turned.

A botched snap set City High back a few yards. From the five- or six-yard line, the Little Hawks’ ran a pass play. The QB intended to hit a receiver running a quick slant, I think. Instead, a Bulldogs’ defensive back jumped the route and intercepted the pass at the goal line. He then romped 99 yards for a Bettendorf touchdown. A PAT pushed the Bulldogs’ lead to 24–7.

That, folks, was a 14-point swing. It almost seemed like it was written in stone, like you knew it was going to happen. It seemed reminiscent of the interception that sealed the last Super Bowl. You get a funny feeling and think, “Don’t pass.” Then they pass. And the absolute worse thing happens.

The game was never the same afterward. What could have been a three-point game turned into a rout.

City High fumbled on their next drive and Bettendorf recovered deep in Little Hawk territory, eventually scoring on a one-yard TD run. A PAT pushed the score to 31–7. City High moved the ball on the ground during their next drive, but eventually stalled and had to punt. The punt was blocked. The Bulldogs recovered the ball on their own 42-yard line and scored on a 31-yard run. A failed PAT made the score 37–7.

It was now the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs had the game well in hand. It was almost hard to believe that for a second it looked like it could be a three-point game. Dad had seen enough and we headed out. Bettendorf scored again while we were leaving to make the score 44–7, which ended up being the final.

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