The 2018 high school football season is over for me. Granted there are still a few games left to be played for the rest of the state, but I no longer will be able to stand on the sideline and be able to spend a handful of hours doing one of the best things in the world.
I had the pleasure of watching an absolute dandy of a game on Friday night after a decent trip south to Avoca for the Alta-Aurelia and AHSTW game. Their facility down there was pretty nice and a wonderful place for a high school football game.
After knowing of AHSTW’s comeback the previous week, they had gotten down 14-0 at half against a district foe in week nine, I knew that Alta-Aurelia couldn’t feel too comfortable with that same score at half. Although they could have increased it before half, football is a game of inches and they just came up short.
Shoutout to Zach Issa for giving me one of the best photos I feel like I’ve taken this season when he was fighting for the ball in the end zone.
The momentum swings through the overtime periods with the crowd on both sides going insane is just one of those great treats of having the privilege to cover high school football every season. This was my third year covering these five schools and there is always something surprising every season.
My first year covering football here was that great Storm Lake season where they went undefeated through the regular season. What a great joy that was in my first year covering football here. I joked a little bit saying they just wanted to impress the new sports guy at the Pilot.
Last year we had Sioux Central really come out of nowhere to start a really nice two season run with 14 wins or two and some really good smash mouth football. This year’s surprise was Alta-Aurelia making their really solid run. I will be completely honest and say I was expecting Ridge View to make that kind of run this season.
This is why I love football. The games aren’t played on a piece of paper. They’re out on the field where anything can happen. I saw a lot of great, close games this year and I saw some not so close games. That just comes with the territory of covering football.
Driving down to Avoca on Friday afternoon, I was hoping for a good competitive game because of my own selfish reasons of having to go that far for a game. Everyone got their money’s worth with three overtimes. Other journalists made the comment, the chain gang, everyone saw a really good football game.
The season as a whole for what I saw was singled out in that one game. An early rise, mid game lull before an amazing finish that took everyone’s breath away. I got to see seniors who I saw starting as sophomores strap up the chin strap for the final time this season.
It will feel really weird next year seeing the freshmen enter their senior year. I haven’t experienced a whole class yet and in 2019 I will with football. There is so much room for growth for every team coming back next season.
Ground work has been laid to make football in our slice of the state one of the best. Some teams aren’t losing many seniors, some more than others, but everyone returns a good amount of talent in some way.
I have a feeling that for as good and fun as 2018 was, 2019 will be a banner year for the five football teams in the Pilot-Tribune area. Maybe the curse will be lifted and a team will win in the playoffs next season. I feel like I brought bad luck with me when I started, our schools are 0-6 in the playoffs during my time here.
Regardless, thank you to our schools, players and coaches for a great 2018 football season.