“3,… 2,… 1,…” The buzzer on the scoreboard went off and it meant the game was over. Not just the game, not just the season. All of it was over. Over 6 years of playing football it didn’t feel right for it to be over. This was my final game as an Aspetuck Wildcat. I knew this game hadn’t felt like any other game. It had felt like a playoff game or even the championship game. It meant a lot to my teammates and it most certainly meant a lot to me. Win or lose, it would be a great 6 years. But a win would make it a whole lot better then to end off the season with a loss.
Almost 3 hours earlier…
The wind had kicked up to around 20 mph. With strong gusts up to 25 mph. It was just above freezing as we were warming up. Not to mention it was snowing. These conditions seemed to make it utterly impossible to throw the football. However, I was prepared and was planning on having a good day. This was infact our last game in all of our Aspetuck Wildcat football careers. Win or lose this was it. All or nothing. As I picked up the football to make my first throw it felt like a rock. My hands were freezing, and gripping the ball felt more like gripping a snowball. The ball had a scent of sharpie from the recently written “Game Ball” on it. I took my first throw. It wobbled a little threw the air and landed with a smack into my receiver’s hands. He passed it back and the impact the ball made on my hands had a sting to it. I grabbed it by the laces, tossed it again, and began to prepare myself for the game.
Next thing I knew I was out on the field standing right in the middle staring at the red, white, and blue flag. As the national anthem dragged on the sorrows started creeping into me as I knew it would be our last game. On the other hand I was feeling very excited about this game. It was a rematch for Woodland. They had never beaten us but they had come very close and we were not going to let them bet us on our final game.
Suddenly, we were walking out to midfield for the coin toss. Caden, David, James, and I went out as captions to see if we would be receiving or kicking first. Since we were the road team I got to call the coin toss. I called heads. It spun around in the air and landed with a thud on the ground. It was heads. As usual I chose to receive.
The adrenaline was finally starting to pump in now. I felt as excited and pumped up as I’d ever been in a football game. Right before our offense took the field I took the field I took a second to focus myself. I inhaled and exhaled slowly to slow my breathing. I could hear the fans starting to cheer and yell and the announcer talking through the microphone. I took a breath in and tasted the snow as well as the cold, brisk, wind. I picked up a football and ran it through the tips of my fingers on the rough laces.
“Brett!” coach Simmons yelled.
I ran over and received the play.
Then I jogged to the huddle to tell the rest of the team what the play was. I called the play and said “This could be our last game, make it count.” Then I ran out to my position and scoped out the Woodland defense.
Before I knew it, it was late in the second quarter and I knew, along with everyone else on the field that we needed a score.
It was 18-14 Woodland. Coach gave me a play and I ran to the huddle to call the play. We were around mid field and it was 2nd down and 10. I had my best wide receiver split out to the right. He was running a hook and go. All game long we had been running hooks and I could tell that the cornerback was gonna take the bait. All I had to do was get him the ball. “Down, set, go” I yelled
My center snapped the ball and I stared down at the middle safety so he wouldn’t jump the hook and go I planning on scoring a touchdown on. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw David break free. I stepped up and threw what I thought would be way short. It certainly wasn’t the best ball I had ever thrown but David hauled it in and finished it by running 20 more yards and diving into the end zone.
Just like that it was 22-18.
When the final whistle blew signaling the end of the game the scored was 36-24.
Aspetuck. We had won.
Everyone went crazy the second the scoreboard hit zero. We celebrated on Woodlands home field. It would be our last game but it was hard to be upset at a win like that. Everyone was happy and excited for the team and for the win. From 3rd grade to 8th grade my passion for football hadn’t changed.
“Sad it has to be over, right” my dad said
“Yeah” I say “But no better way to end then like this”