High school football almost never disappoints

Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:25 a.m.

Rare is the time when longtime Bay City coach Eddie Nelson doesn't offer words of wisdom.

"Prayers go up and blessings come down," is one of Nelson's favorite expressions.

I'm not sure if my prayers were answered, but it was a blessing when seemingly out of nowhere Nelson showed up outside Memorial Stadium in Bay City late Friday night some years ago.

I was almost to the state of panic, trying to figure out where I was going to find a suitable phone line to send my story of that night's game back to the sports desk.

Nelson opened the door to the coaches office and I was home free for another week.

Friday nights during the high school football season are filled with surprises, and this season will be no different.

I would prefer not to be kicked out of a press box before I finish my story, end up underneath an 18-wheeler in my car, have to climb a fence to get out of a locked stadium, or to be doused with water by a team celebrating a win.

But the bad experiences have been few and far between, and are easily outweighed by some of the amazing performances and games I have witnessed.

Over two decades have passed, but I can still remember Clay Pullin kicking a field goal on a frigid night at Memorial Stadium in Austin in the final seconds of Cuero's 38-36 Class 3A semifinal win over Van Vleck in 1985.

Two years later, I watched the Gobblers celebrate a state championship on the same field.

I recall the rain coming down so hard and the water building up on the side of U.S. Highway 77 that I wondered if I would make it to Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

I kept seeing cars coming from the opposite direction so I kept driving.

I reached the parking lot and took off my shoes and socks to run from my car to the stadium, but still got soaking wet.

Schulenburg performed much better in horrible conditions, defeating Albany 21-0 in 1991 to win the first of its two consecutive Class 2A state titles.

I got lost on the way to the stadium in Pasadena, but fortunately arrived in time to watch one of the best playoff performances I have seen as Bay City dismantled a talented Houston Forest Brook team 43-6 in the 2000 Class 4A Division I regional playoffs.

Three weeks later, I was at Texas Stadium in Irving and saw the Blackcats put on a defensive clinic in their 24-2 win over Denton Ryan in the state final.

I never thought I'd cover a playoff game in Wichita Falls.

But after driving to Dallas on Friday, I was there on Saturday night when Chris Baer's kickoff return for a touchdown sparked Shiner to a 33-19 win over Stratford in the 2004 Class 1A state championship game.

Two years later, I stood among Calhoun fans at Sandcrab Stadium celebrating a 38-23 win over Beeville to capture a share of the district championship and the top seed in the playoffs.

The win came in the same season the Sandcrabs ended a 45-year postseason drought.

Not long after the celebration ended, the late Wes Underwood sat in the press box with me as I wrote my story and a downpour ensued.

The rain was back in Port Lavaca last season, but it didn't stop Cuero's Trent Jackson from rushing for 385 yards and four touchdowns in the Gobblers' 34-21 win over the Sandcrabs.

This season will have its share of highlights and lowlights.

The road for me begins Friday night at Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium in Refugio. I hope it ends in December at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

That would be a blessing.

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.



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