By Dency McClure
We arrived in Lohn early and found the coaches and others moving sprinkler stuff off the field. Coach Jackson was pushing the little cart along that spray paints the field lines. Not sure why I am so fascinated by those little contraptions, but I am. I mean how cool is that to push the cart and it sprays paint? The area was buzzing with people making game preparations. We caught Coach Jackson as he was putting the little cart in the shed. We have shirts that we are giving to the coaches this season. When I held up the shirt to show him he got excited and was very pleased and even more pleased when Michael told him he was the first coach to get one. The Gustine bus pulled in so we left Coach Jackson so he could get back to work.
About that time a rainbow appeared behind the end zone. I’ll be honest, it had been pouring rain most of the day in Paint Rock. I had reluctantly found my rain boots and was dreading standing in the rain. It was a very nice surprise to arrive in a rain-free oasis in Lohn. They had gotten much needed rain, but it had left in plenty of time for things to dry a bit before kick-off. I gladly traded my rain boots for my tennis shoes.
Soon the referees arrived. Two appeared to be very young and again, I am so thankful we have people stepping up to fill the desperate need for Sixman referees. Of course when you are new at something, you aren’t perfect at it, and it takes time to get in the groove of the season. They all worked hard throughout the game and were under great leadership from a amazing white hat. I hope to keep seeing new referees this season along with my trusted sideline buddies of past seasons.
Before the game got underway folks were parking all along the fence. It appeared that many had their regular spots that everyone knew was theirs. Once backed up to the fence, several set up their game watching homes away from home. Lawn chairs and recliners etc were lifted into the truck beds and even blankets were added for the extra coziness. Why sit in the bleachers when you can watch in style along the fence?
A group was selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a cake. I loved hearing all the discussions having to do with the cake. One cheerleader asked a man if he would share the cake if he won it. He informed her he was a cake-eating son of a gun so there probably wouldn’t be any to share. The discussion from the press box about the cake was if it was homemade or not. They were soon told it was homemade and all about the icing. It sounded delicious. Everyone wanted to win! The winner was announced at half and at the end of the game the announcer in the press box asked when and where the cutting of the cake would take place getting a chuckle from the crowd.
The game got underway and Lohn took off with an unexpected bang. They made the first touchdown and were on fire. I was texting Jeff Corean, the Rochelle coach, to let him know Lohn was in the game. He was excited as well so I told him to tune in to our broadcast to keep up.
We could hear thunder and see lightning in the distance. Gustine questioned the weather and Coach Jackson yelled up to the press box that Gustine wanted to go home, so as not to get beat, so he needed a lightning meter check. The meter was checked and the report came back that it was 30 some odd miles away so the game was still a go.
Gustine jumped in after a startling start, and the game was an exciting one. Both teams had offense and defense going for them. Gustine had a few extra players to rotate in, but Lohn just had their six. No substitutes at all! Playing both sides of the ball play after play all night long. A team of heart and not a senior in the bunch!
The humidity was playing into several things. Both teams were cramping and the bugs were swarming. The game took a bit longer to play as multiple players were having to be stretched. Lohn had to run a couple of plays with only five on the field.
My favorite quote from the night was when one of the Lohn coaches yelled out to Taylor Bass when they were lining up and asked her if she was dating one of the other players. She shook her head no, and he said, "then get away from him." Everyone got a chuckle out of that. It’s only game two and several players had to be reminded where to be before the snap. Number 5 from Lohn, Travis Wise, was in beast mode dragging players down the field for yardage. Play after play he beasted it! Pushing for the 15 yards.
I was surprised to see how well Taylor and the boys were holding up to playing non-stop all night. Their maroon was getting darker and darker as the quarters passed. It wasn’t until half way through the fourth quarter that they started to show signs of getting tired. A tribute to the Lohn coaches on their conditioning for sure.
The game went a full four quarters and ended with Gustine 56 and Lohn 14. It wasn’t the expected game. It was an amazing game. When I interviewed Coach Jackson at a scrimmage his goal for the season was to be competitive. Coach Jackson, I must say you and your six have achieved your goal!
See you on the sidelines!