Smith: Chieftains vs. Bobcats was a classic
Not to be a braggart, but being a sports reporter is a pretty sweet gig.
You watch sports — at work.
What is better than that?
This past year I watched countless games, matches, events, etc., involving local athletes and teams.
But as I reflected on the previous 12 months, there was one game that stood out as the best: Tonganoxie High football at Basehor-Linwood, Oct. 16, 2009.
The rival teams entered the opening week of district play with 5-1 records, and the anticipated matchup lived up to the hype.
Austen Holloway gave the Chieftains confidence on the road with two first-half touchdown runs and Jeremie Maus busted loose for a game-changing 49-yard score with just more than 10 minutes remaining, but four quarters weren’t enough for this classic.
It took two overtimes to decide a winner and the Bobcats edged the Chieftains, 28-27.
Both defenses refused to give in the first overtime and the district contest entered the second extra frame tied at 21.
The Bobcats were the first to get on the board in overtime and THS trailed, 28-21.
With four plays and 10 yards to go, the Chieftains got off to a bad start with an illegal shift.
On first-and-15, Jeremy Carlisle ran, but could only get back to the line of scrimmage.
The junior quarterback was called upon again on second-and-15 with only a slightly better result — one yard.
Facing third-and-14, THS called a timeout, but another penalty set up an unenviable third-and-19.
The Chieftains had two plays left to reach pay dirt, but it only took one. Carlisle rolled out left and threw up a pass for Dylan Faulconer, who beat three BLHS defenders to the ball, hauled it in and got his feet down in bounds at the front of the end zone for a score.
Poised to send the game into a third overtime with an extra point, the Chieftains instead went for it all and lined up for a two-point conversion.
Carlisle took the snap, ran toward the goal line and was stymied inches away from a thrilling victory.
It was the most exciting game this sports reporter witnessed in 2009 — work or no work.
Off the clock, I spend plenty of my spare time doing the same thing I do on the clock, watching sports.
Thumbing through the catalog of games I attended this past year, the Chieftains versus the Bobcats was the absolute best I saw.
That includes Kansas University men’s basketball and football contests, Kansas City Royals games in which American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke pitched, a pair of Kansas City Chiefs games (no surprise there) and a Celtics victory against the Fightin’ Kevin Durants in Oklahoma City.
It was great to watch that high school football classic from the sidelines.
I’m sure Tonganoxie’s players and coaches won’t remember it as fondly, but even after the devastating loss, Holloway knew the game was special.
“It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said. “I just wish it would’ve went the other way, but you couldn’t ask for a better game.”
No you couldn’t.