Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Crazy Football Day

We all know what the past few weeks have been like.  Hurricane Sandy (Superstorm), a Nor'easter, and the recovery from all of it.
Many are still without power, and that is shameful.  Many have lost so much.

Sports, our great distraction, has come back.  Finally, the FCIAC played football, with Greenwich taking on Brien McMahon of Norwalk after numerous delays.

The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead and they just kept scoring, easily rolling to a 49-14 win.  Liam O'Neil threw three touchdowns to Joe Kelly in the victory.  O'Neil has been among the best quarterbacks in the FCIAC, throwing 13 touchdowns in three games.

Yet, this was just a small piece of the story.  Yes, the Cardinals needed to win to keep their hopes alive for an appearance in the state playoffs and the FCIAC Championship Game - which would be included as part of their season-ending, Thanksgiving Day showdown with Staples.  It is the only way that an outright championship would be awarded.  Otherwise, the title would be split between Staples and Trinity Catholic.

The Crusaders had last won the county championship in 1984, when their current coach, Pete Stokes, was their quarterback.  The team needed to beat Darien at home to keep their shot at a co-championship alive.

That's where we sort-of came in.  Ryan DeMaria and I met up and drove to McMahon, with me nursing a cold that had me off my game.  Max Barefoot, our intern, statistician, and extra booth voice, met us at McMahon.  Chris Erway and Chris Kaelin both showed up about 10 minutes into our pregame show, due to the multiple date changes.  Each had a commitment. Erway was especially interested in this game, being a McMahon grad.

As the Greenwich/McMahon game got underway, the Greenwich fans, gathered underneath our window in the booth, began asking for scores from the Trinity/Darien game.  Jason Intrieri was there, and he texted me information furiously.  Twitter was a strong source as well, with Darien Football, Dave Ruden and others tweeting away.

At first, I relayed scores by yelling out to Warren Bernstein, father of the Cardinal "Sherman Tank", Mark.  Then, I remembered that I had a wipe-off board, that I bought for a dollar at Target, intending to let others in the booth use it when they wanted to tell me something, as opposed to me reading lips.  I began watching Twitter (along with Chris Erway), calling the game, checking texts from Jason, and updating the fans on the wipe board.  Their cheers and groans were audible.

Fast-forward to the end of the Greenwich game.  I had hoped to stay on the air until the Trinity game was over, but due to a miscommunication, McMahon asked us to clear out of the press box (realizing later on that we could have stayed).  As we walked out of the booth, I chatted with McMahon AD Joe Madaffari about the game when I glanced again at my phone.  It seemed everyone wanted to know what was going on with the Trinity game.  They had played a crazy, sloppy, ugly, memorable game.  It see-sawed to the point that it was 20-20, with overtime seeming likely.  We thought about making a run to get to Trinity's Alumni field to see the end (no broadcast was covering it...ugh...), but then....Twitter gave the answer, followed by Jason.

I yelled out for Madaffari, CJ, and Max to hear.  Kato, Ryan, and others also heard the news.  Jason confirmed it further - the game was over.  Ryan suggested I jump on the air (as in, call the station).  My first call to Sean Kilkelly went unanswered, so I called Warren Bernstein, knowing he could pass the word.  The response from the Bernstein car was ecstatic, to say the least.  Sean, in the meantime, sent me a text, and I called him right back.  Within seconds, I was on the air to report the details (or at least what I knew).

This is Dave Ruden's story on the game.

The Cardinals and Wreckers had both won.  The Crusaders had lost.  Greenwich needs to beat Danbury on Thursday night.  Staples needs to do the same to Westhill.  So long as both of those things happen, it will be the Cardinals and Wreckers for all of the marbles on November 22nd at Cardinal Stadium.

This morning, I noticed a tweet from The Cardinal Crazies (I love seeing students getting so fired up at Greenwich!), letting me know how the football team reacted when they found out about Trinity Catholic losing.  This made my day.

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