The perfect storm passed over us, and though I know there's still some folks in Harford County who haven't had their power turned back on yet, it didn't manage to mess up the sports schedules more than a few days. The second-round regional boys soccer tournament matchups, which were supposed to be played Tuesday, were all set to be contested as I'm writing this (Thursday morning), the boys volleyball county tournament was postponed only 24 hours and there are some football games that were pushed from Friday to Saturday night. All in all, that's not so bad, considering the severity of Sandy. Lest I seem callous by celebrating in the wake of a disaster, I send my condolences to everyone who lost a loved one or had their lives seriously marred by the storm. We got relatively lucky in our corner of the world, while other areas not so far from Harford County were totally wrecked.
So, storm behind us, here's some numbers that started rattling around in my head while I was hunkered down, trying not to worry about a giant branch falling and crushing my car:
Five years, 21 days: That is the amount of time between Fallston football's 29-28 victory over Edgewood (Oct. 5, 2007), and its 14-13 loss to North Harford (Oct. 26, 2012). If you want to get a bit more specific, that is 1,848 days. What is the connection between those two games? Well, in the former, the Cougars were trailing the visiting Rams, 28-21, with less than 20 seconds left in regulation when they scored a touchdown that brought them within one point of Edgewood. Fallston head coach Dave Cesky asked his team if they wanted to tie the game with a field goal and go to overtime, or try to win it with a two-point conversion. They picked the two-point play, and Cougar running back Garrett Weinhold delivered, scoring the game-winning points on a weak-side pitch. In the latter game, the Cougars were trailing visiting North Harford, 14-7, with less than 40 seconds left in regulation when they scored a touchdown that brought them within one point of the Hawks. Cesky asked his team if they wanted to tie the game with a field goal and possibly head to overtime, or try to win it with a two-point conversion. They picked the two-point play, and Cougar quarterback Brendan Weinhold's short pass to the end zone was batted down by the North Harford defense, meaning the Hawks had escaped with a 14-13 victory.
I was standing near the North Harford end zone talking to a fellow sports reporter when Fallston scored its final touchdown. When I saw the Fallston team come to a huddle near the sideline after the touchdown, I said to the other reporter, "I'll bet you money that Cesky sends them out there to try to for two points. I've seen this same situation before." My colleague shook his head and smiled, not taking my bet, but also not discounting what I'd said. When the Cougars came out and it was obvious they weren't in field goal formation, the other reporter said, "Man, I can't believe that. You called it."
I was most amazed that my memory, which fails me every single day on matters both important and trivial, came through so strongly. The 2007 game was one the most exciting I've ever had the pleasure to witness though, so it's not totally surprising. Aside from Fallston's last-minute heroics, you had Edgewood's Caleb Winslow coming through with one of the gutsiest performances I've ever seen, scoring all four of his team's touchdowns and running for 150 yards on 22 carries. It should be noted that Winslow's last touchdown came with 1:49 left in regulation, when the game was tied, 21-21. I hope that gives you some perspective on how entertaining the final two minutes were.
Last Friday's matchup, though it featured half as many points scored, was just as exciting as the 2007 game, and it's definitely going on my top-10 list. Cesky and the Cougars went for the gusto and came up short. My hat goes off the Hawks for staying focused on that two-point play. It was a great game.