......................teams that I saw Friday night in Lamar, SC during the Great Falls – Lamar quarterfinal match up
The two teams presented a classic match up of size and speed and made play after play that showed the talent and poise of both these fine teams.
The atmosphere at the game was one of wild support and community pride. It was obvious from the very beginning that both towns had turned out in full force to support their schools and show that Fox and Devil pride. The stadium was full of electricity and filled with over 4000 that crowded the seats on a cold and crisp late fall evening. The line to get into the stadium stretched halfway around the parking lot and people were still waiting to get in until deep in the 1st quarter.
We arrived in Lamar around 6 with my best college friend who just moved to Great Falls and has supported the Devils all season. We met up with Knightdad who provided the Tailgating goodies and we sat around the back of my car hoping we had enough warm clothes and that the winds would calm down for the game. It was just plain cold as we went into the stadium and the low rise bleachers were doing nothing to protect us from the cold conditions
Prior to the game, some of the Regular Irregulars from the SC Pigskin Prep Class 1A message boards planned to met at second base and socialize. It was great to meet a few of the guys and put a name and face together. Except some of those faces could give you nightmares on a long winter's night.
The game itself was everything it was billed to be. Tough hitting by huge bodies, lightening quick defenses and great coaching highlighted the game and let us know real early that this game would be a classic that was destined for a fantastic finish.
By the 4th quarter it looked like Great Falls was in command and with a 3 point lead appeared headed to victory. The Devils held a decisive size advantage and after a tough hard hitting game, it looked like the Devils had worn down the Foxes and were headed to the semi finals. But the Foxes showed great fortitude and heart and came back to win late in the 4th quarter with less than 4 minutes to play.
Both teams were led by outstanding players but 1 player for each team stood out for me. Great Falls OL Jackson McKeon, played great all night, opening huge holes and showing great legwork by pulling from his tackle postion and making many great blocks down the field. For Lamar, Shrine Bowl Punter Chris Windham highlighted his great leg and accuracy by averaging over 60 yards a punt in the first half and placing 2 balls inside the 5 on superb kicks. His kicks changed the field position and allowed the Foxes to establish some ground in the early going of the defensive struggle.
Finally I wanted to mention the outstanding jobs done by both coaching staffs. Coach Boyd of Lamar and Coach Kenneth Schofield did a fantastic job all evening long. In particular I was impressed by the actions of the Great Falls staff.
After the game ended and the Devil season was over, many of the GF players were understandably distraught and upset. Many were lying on the field visibly shaken. But the coaches of Great Falls to a man, went to each player, got them off the ground and forced them into the line to shake hands with the Lamar players and coaches. I saw a great deal of respect from each team to the other and even a few congratulatory hugs from the players. After all we suffered through this season, it was great to see these 2 coaching staffs providing such a positive influence on their teams. They were coaching and teaching long after the final whistle had blown.
It was great night in Lamar and I was honored to witness it all. I look forward to seeing Lamar and Great Falls in the future and wish both programs the best of luck in 2002 and in the future seasons to come.