You can probably count the number of "perfect days", weather-wise, in this part of the country on both hands...there just are not that many. Yesterday, and it appears today, will be a couple of those 'hand full" of days.
I shut down the A/C when I got home on Wednesday from officiating football in Delphos, yesterday was near 80, with low humidity, and when I woke up today to begin my walk, the thermometer read 52 degrees.. No fog, no dew, just dry and sunny conditions as I left the house at 7:30. Despite the trashed streets in Celina, from the construction, the walk was a pleasant hour trek through Celina and along Lake Shore Drive. Yes indeed, these days are rare, and you have to get outside to enjoy the few we have. I'll be outside most of the day, if to do nothing else by drive the open Jeep Wrangler around the area, or set on the back steps and watch the Sunflowers fade from their peak, and the bees get the last of the pollen from them.
An excellent Football Game_____
A good football game on Wednesday was followed by an excellent one last night...both opening season games at the Junior High level...that is a rarity in itself.
Traveling the 30 miles north and west to Crestview High School at Convoy, I was slated to work a 3 man crew with one of my association members, Terry, and a 2nd year official from Lima, Mike. Three man is always a challenge...even at the Junior High level. Some schools use four for JH and JV football, other choose to use just three. I took the middle, meaning I would do the work as the head referee and umpire, while Terry and Mike would take the "wings"(the side line officials).
Lima Central Catholic jumped out early to a 6-0 lead...and it stayed that way until midway through the final quarter. The home standing Knights from Crestview drove the ball deep into LCC territory, where the drive stalled to a 4th and Goal at the T-Birds 3 yard line. Crestview's big running back, a black kid that is a man among boys at this level(usually the kids that are this far ahead of the others come back to the pack by High School, but some remain ahead of the curve...and those are the guys you see playing on Saturday afternoons at the next level, this kid has that chance). Big #35 drove the ball towards the goal as a gang of 5 or 6 LCC players tried to wrestle him to the ground. As he hit the one yard line, he reached out and tried to get the pigskin to cross the plane of the goal line...a small LCC player punched the football out before he could break that line, and the ball bounded into the end zone...the LCC players surround it, and came away with the ball, thus stopping the drive.
Lima Central drove the ball back to their 35, until a fumble set up Crestview with the ball, with about 4 minutes left in the game....a couple of plays later, the Knights punched the ball in, and there we were, tied...the conversion failed and the game remained deadlocked at 6.
To the T-Birds credit, they did not try to stall the game out...but it almost cost them the game. A couple of incomplete passes and a punt put the ball on the Crestview 35 yard line with 27 seconds to go...a long bruising run by #35 put the ball at the LCC 30...and a time out and short play later, we were down to 3.4 seconds and Crestview was 30 or so yards away...it appeared we were heading for Overtime.
Crestview, with one more shot ran a play to the right side...as the original ball carrier was hit, he tossed the ball on a lateral to another running back, who scampered down to the 5 yard line, then as he was being dragged down, he tossed the ball to big lineman, who carried the ball to paydirt. I had a pretty good angle and dropped the yellow flag....looking at my partners, who were signaling "Touchdown" , I blew my whistle and waved them both over...."Did you see anything I didn't"? I asked...Both admitted that they had no good angle on the "lateral"..."Well" I told them, "I did and it was forward by a yard or more, so I' m killing the TD".
Some protests followed the call, but I believe the Crestview coaches knew that the pass was forward and therefore illegal....we went to OT. Crestview got the ball first at the 20 yard line, drove to the 3 where big #35 was stuffed at the 1 on 4th down....LCC then took over, and scored in just 3 plays to end the contest with a 12-6, hard fought victory.
I felt bad about making the call that moved the game into overtime...but in my heart and mind, I knew it was the right call...the game, especially for this early in the season, was outstanding. No varsity work tonight, so I may walk to Celina Stadium to watch the hometown Bulldogs take on the storied Versailles Tiger program in the season opener for the varsity kids...the local team appears to be facing another long season, the wins will be hard to come by. It's been 10 seasons since they had a winning record, and considering just how powerful this team was in the early 80s, then again throughout the 90s...it is indeed sad to see how far the program has dropped. I wish the young coaching staff all the luck they can muster...they are going to need it.
Tomorrow morning I head for Waynesfield for a JV contest against Triad...
back later >>>>
Photos-The Sun shines bright over Grand Lake this morning...hiding the pollution from the Blue Green Algae...Celina's Bulldogs and other High School varsity teams kick off the season tonight, and the bees doing their best to take and spread the pollen off the back yard Sunflowers.