The feeling at the Storm Lake football game was unlike anything I’ve ever felt at a football game before. Yes, my sample size is a little limited in that regard, but sometimes you can just feel an energy when you walk into a stadium. You can just sense that something big is going to happen one way or another. After the final horn sounded, a celebration was on, one of the many celebrations for sports fans over the weekend.
For the first time in school history the Storm Lake Tornadoes won a district title, and for a little while there I had doubts. When SB-L went up by 14 points I began to wonder if Storm Lake ran out of steam. All the wonderful games this season with a lot of guys playing both ways, it seemed like it was finally catching up to them. The third quarter was a little rough to watch. Nothing went right offensively.
I was tempted to head back to the office after the Warriors got their two score lead, but I looked at the clock and saw there was nearly the entire quarter left to play. I thought to myself I’ll stick it out for a little while longer to see how this ends up. If I had left and missed the comeback, man, my editor would’ve strung me up on a clothesline for days.
The Tornadoes began to find new life, a spark, that one thing that they needed to get momentum back on their side. They found it thanks to- forcing a couple of turnovers and big plays that have defined the season for Storm Lake. The Tornadoes had three interceptions thanks to a massive game by senior Kevin Xayavong. The seniors knew that they had to lead their team to a victory. There was no other way around it, and they delivered one of the best celebrations I’ve seen after a game in my life.
Confetti bombs rained down. Players were doing backflips on the field. The students and players joined in on singing the school’s fight song while ringing the victory bell. For a school, a group of seniors, that have fallen on some hard times on the football field, to earn this chance to march to the UNI Dome to let people know that Storm Lake is one of the best teams in the state of Iowa might be all they need.
Glenwood, their opponent on Friday night, was one of the two wildcard teams that made the playoffs. Their two losses on the season were against the top two teams in their district. They’ve won every single road game this season so being away from their home field means very little to them. However, only one of their seven wins were against a team with a winning record this season.
It should be an interesting contest for the Tornadoes who have now proven themselves to be a force at this point in the season. So many teams could’ve packed it in being down by 14 and already locking up a playoff berth. Storm Lake isn’t one of those teams. They believe in one another. They’re more than a team, they’re a family. A family never lets anyone around them down.
And that is what makes them such a dangerous team for the next couple of weeks. Two games gets them their first trip to the UNI Dome. Four wins brings home a State Championship. Time for the Storm Lake football program to show the state what a family of players can do.