“The Road to Paradise” outline

Chapter 6: The Bigger the Bully

FOOTBALL IS LIKE BOXING. When you put your opponent on his heels with a stinging uppercut, you keep him on his heels with a right cross.

The opening Reverse 47 Pass play had definitely put Hobart on its heels, but would be pointless unless the Knights could find a way to punch the ball into the end zone against the mammoth Hobart defensive line.

Perhaps the naive Knights are simply unaware that they aren’t supposed to be able to move the ball against the brick wall of the Brickies defensive line. Or perhaps they just don’t t know that despite conventional wisdom, size doesn’t always matter. Sometimes strength and quickness and desire and heart are just as important — and can be just as dominating.Castle Quarterback Mike Davis hands off to running back Dave Brosmer against the Hobart Brickies

A few plays later, the Knights have driven the ball to the Hobart one-yard line. As the Brickie players grouse amongst themselves, complaining that they can’t see the ball in the Knights’ misdirection offense, quarterback Mike Davis enters the huddle and looks at his friends and teammates.

He sees 10 sets of confident, zoned-in eyes staring back at him.

They know they are going to score. They know they are about to take the lead against a team they’ve been told they can’t score on, in a game they’ve been told they can’t win. They know they are about to make history — one touchdown at a time.

And score they do, taking a 7-0 lead against the Hobart Brickies.

FOOTBALL, HOWEVER, IS also a game of ebbs and tides, a game of momentum. It’s one thing to score a quick touchdown on a huge opponent. It’s another to keep that huge opponent from scoring a touchdown themselves. And this Hobart team is no pushover.

The Hobart players had grown up in the blue collar steel mill neighborhoods of Chicago’s far southeast suburbs. They expect to be swatting these country bumpkin Castle kids like flies.

The teams trade short possessions before the Hobart quarterback finds his favorite receiver for a 52-yard touchdown on a blown coverage by the Knights. Just like that, without having secured a first down, the Brickies have tied the game. The Knights are in a dogfight with a bigger and badder dog.

¬†Next — Chapter 7: Perfection

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