When playoff time rolls around you have to throw out the schedule. Friday night matches can become Saturday night, afternoon, or even morning games. Matter of fact previous Friday Night *ights contestant and #2 team in Texas, Allen Eagles, turned up with an 11 am game on Saturday and took a big fall, losing to 5-5 Rowlett.
When playoff time hits, coaches call their next opponent and work out a neutral site for the playoff matchup. Sometimes it’s halfway between two towns. Some coaches are gamblers and will flip a coin and play at home if they win or the other team’s home stadium if they lose. Needless to say there is a scramble to get one of the better stadiums in the area for playoff games. In Dallas that means one thing….Texas Stadium. Home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. They start them early and run games every three hours, shuttling fans in and out. The venerable (and soon to be obsolescent) stadium holds ~65,000 folks and there are usually anywhere between 15 & 25 thousand in at any one time. It’s a treat for the kids, if a bit of a hassle for the adults. From a fan perspective it’s a bargain. You can buy one ticket and watch all you care to watch, assuming you have the cashish to live of $5.50 sodas and $8.50 nachos all day.
But enough back story, to the game. Plano drew 6-4 Rockwall as their Bidistrict opponent. Rockwall was advertised as better than their record and did not disappoint. A prolific offense and smothering defense sent #9 Plano to the halftime locker room down 13-28. Whatever the Plano coaching staff did/said at halftime worked with the Cats scoring twice and making a two point conversion to Rockwall’s single TD head into the fourth quarter down only 35-28. Then it got wild.
Plano scored, 35 all. The teams traded punches for awhile then the Cats scored again, 42-35 lead with about 3 minutes left. Rockwall, stifled most of the second half, kicks into gear and moves the ball smartly down the field finally coming up with first and goal from the five after a long pass play that looked like a sure TD until the receiver pulled up with what looked like a pulled hammy around the 15 yard line. Three unsuccessful attempts later, fourth and goal – same five needed. Wildcats intercept in the end zone and (unwisely) run the ball out to around the fifteen. Celebrations ensue. Much yelling and high fiving to be had. But wait. Is that some laundry on the field? Oh snap! Defensive holding call against the Wildcats. Half the distance, automatic first down.
Here’s where the Cats impressed. It would have been very easy to roll over, lose faith, come down off that adrenalin high. The officials who had been slow as Christmas all night long were all of a sudden johnny on the spot and ready to play. Wildcats rush back on to the field, hurriedly lining up. The Rockwall QB quickly snaps the ball and runs a play action to the post. Intercepted again. This time smartly falling down, Plano ball at the 20 and a couple of kneels later it looked like this:
Next week’s opponent, the Skeeters of Mesquite at the self same Texas Stadium. The Skeeters are 7-4 with one of those four being an early season 13-33 pounding at the hands of our hometown gridcrew. We’ll be there for the 11 am game with a tub of brunch nachos and a souvenir cup full of Diet Pepsi. Go Wildcats!