Aquilla Cougars (Brandi Parks / BrandiLoo Photography)
Friday, Sept. 29th
Some folks didn’t think this would be much of a game and at first, I even hesitated to cover it. Since this is my first time writing about Texas High School football, I was wary of presiding over a blowout.
However, since both teams were coming into the game with 4–0 records, I knew that prying an undefeated season away from either would be like taking a bone from a dog or raw meat from a ravenous cougar. Also, because the town of Aquilla is just a short 30-minute drive down Interstate 35E from Milford, there had to be some sort of rivalry between the two being that they’re so tightly scrunched together (at least by Texas standards).
The Milford Bulldogs were the team heavily favored to win tonight’s game, but Cowboy Parks of SixMania.com a longtime six-man aficionado, and also a local to the area had alerted me to the fact that “the Aquilla Cougars are unpredictable and they’ve proven they can play with some pretty good teams.” In other words, the Bulldogs were in no position to take them lightly and my interest was instantly piqued.
Would this Game Really be a Blowout?
So tune in I did. The teams were tied up at 6–6 in the first quarter and by the end of the first half, the favorites had gapped the Cougars by 14 points leading 20–6.
Ronny Crumpton, coach of the Bulldogs was far from pleased at this point, however, and described the game as having gotten “off to a chaotic start.”
From his perspective, the refs started off calling personal fouls that exceeded the boundaries of the kinds of questionable calls a team can normally expect during the course of a game. The calls were so frequent and random that it apparently stunted his players’ confidence and early on disrupted their normal style of play.
With 7:50 left in the 3rd quarter, the Cougars were scratching and clawing to hang onto that 14-point deficit now trailing at 28–14, but coach Crumpton had had enough. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, he chooses his words carefully and he obviously had some choice words for the officials.
After they got their differences sorted, and the Bulldogs players had adjusted, they opened up their lead to 50–22 by the end of the 3rd Quarter.
Tough Plays, Tough Calls and the Lack Thereof
Things got a little heated between the players and the Bulldogs were livid when the refs overlooked what they saw as an obvious act of “ankle twisting” against their prized Bell Cow (top player), but when the dust settled and everything was said and done, the Bulldogs still took the game 64–28.
Coach Crumpton knows how to win football games, but winning a game isn’t always enough especially when there’s room for improvement and he cited some blown coverages and extra-point kicking percentages that he’d like to see rectified in the near future as in yesterday.
The Cougars at least went down fighting (and hopefully not ankle twisting) and made it a better game than many predicted and coach Josh Ball exited the field with a classy send off.
(Interview courtesy of SixMania.com)
“This was a good team, it was a tough loss for us and we made a lot of mistakes. (We got) down to the red zone four times and couldn’t convert on it. There’s a reason they’re number two in the state. They’re tough and we’re gonna learn from this. We’re gonna come back.”
*Refs have a tough job and the intention of the article was not to blame them for anything. After all, the Bulldogs won handily. However, when calls are inconsistent or an official carries an inherent bias whether consciously or not, it can create doubt in a player’s mind as to what he’s allowed to do. Hopefully after each game, officials everywhere take time to reflect on any mistakes to see how they could have been better. That’s what we all can aspire to be is better. And again, they have a TOUGH job! I couldn’t do it.
*I emailed both schools for the football coaches and only coach Crumpton responded, so if Aquilla fans think I didn’t tell their story you’re free to sound off in the comments.