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Capturing the right angle for a culminating kiss

Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:11 a.m.
Updated Oct. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.

Calhoun running back Cory Williams gets a big smooch from his great-aunt Linda McGregor after the Sandcrabs shut out Calallen, 17-0, on Sept. 28 at Sandcrab Stadium in Port Lavaca. Cory had 24 carries for 95 yards and scored one touchdown.

Although most fans fill the stands on Friday nights to watch the passes, drives and cheer for the touchdowns, the world just beyond the turf is fascinating in its own right.

Calhoun's recent 17-0 victory on Sept. 28 over Calallen was no exception.

After chasing the ball up and down the field for 24 minutes, I was exhausted, but had very little to send to the newspaper.

As I sat in the press box quickly flipping through the hundreds of frames I had captured, I noticed the woman sitting next to me was on the edge of her seat.

She nervously watched, sometimes shielding her eyes, as the team took to the field for the second half.

It was watching her yell at the tiny helmeted figures beyond the glass that made me realized just how much the inevitable Sandcrab win was going to mean to players, coaches and fans.

I frantically edited the photos I had and grabbed my camera to race to the field for what I imagined was the perfect victory shot.

I tried to dodge slow moving fans as the seconds counted down on the clock after quarterback Hunter Boerm dropped to his knee to end the game.

I was too late. The instant the Sandcrabs realized they had achieved their goal, the moment was over.

I had missed it.

It wasn't until the fans flooded onto the field that my photographic karma for not pushing fans down the bleachers and out of my way arrived.

Standing atop the player's bench, I first photographed Boerm hugging his grandmother, Kathy Cann, with my telephoto lens.

The moment and the emotion that I was searching for was in that photo, but I was too close to them, the composition just wasn't right.

I looked over from my perch on the bench and saw another major player in the game - running back Cory Williams.

I approached the almost 6-foot junior just as his very proud great-aunt, equipped with a special shirt with "Cory" and No. 22 written on the back, reached up and pulled him into a giant hug.

The towering force that ran for 95 yards that night returned the embrace with a giant smile overtaking his face.

I adjusted my position on the track to catch the best possible angle and zoomed in just in time to catch Linda McGregor planting a giant kiss on Cory as he made a face of playful embarrassment.

"That's my baby right there," McGregor told me when I talked to her after capturing the photo I had been searching for.

Although her pride was obvious, McGregor didn't let her nephew or the Sandcrabs easily off the hook when I asked her thoughts on the shutout.

"It could have been better," she said with a smile.

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