Spirit’s Seasons, A Series – Football, Episode I
THE PANTHER VS COYOTES
THE FIRST GAME of postseason play pitted the Panthers against the Coyotes. The Bobcats had the advantage of playing the winner of that contest. Billy’s team was the first to start at the 20 yard-line. In the first snap, Buddy found Blue in the end zone and just like that the score was 6-0. For the point-after-attempt Browder faked a pass and handed the ball to Red Boyd. The defense was not fooled by the fake. The Coyotes had large, strong, savvy, defensive linemen, and they met Red at the line of scrimmage and brought him down
Then the Coyotes took the snap at the same twenty and tried their running game, but they too got stacked up at a scrimmage. Again and again, their running game failed, but on the fourth down the Coyote, quarterback faked a pass then rolled around the right side as if to run. Before crossing the scrimmage line he flipped the ball over to his blocking back. The back ran to the opposite sideline, turned, planted his right foot, and threw a deep pass across the field. It was received in the end zone by the Coyote QB… there was nobody near him. For the PAT the Coyote coach sent in an eighth grader, a recent immigrant from northern Europe, Jan Bjorne. The former soccer player easily kicked the ball through the uprights and earned Somday-Seltice the right to play the Bobcats.
Spirit was hoping to run Cloud two times and be done with it, but after seeing the huge Coyote line he remembered the Rangers game. So, the Slocum brothers alternated carries but they could not get into the end zone. Then the Coyotes took the offense. They executed one running play but got taken down hard by Cloud deep in the backfield. Then, to the astonishment of all in attendance, the Coyotes brought on Bjorne again. The Dane kicked a high attempt at a 41-yard field goal. The football hit the left upright but deflected to the right and through. Game over, 3-zero!
Just twenty-five minutes after the first team took the field… the tiebreaker was over. As fans were still coming into the stadium, the players’ buses were being loaded up. For the Bobcats, game over, season over. That was somewhat of a disappointing ending for Spirit but he was still very proud of his kids and their memorable efforts. And he let his players know on the way home, every day in school and, especially, during the awards ceremony the following week.
Just as Spirit had done at the end of every season over the past decade, he tried to talk to Kay. There was never an answer on her home phone. When Spirit tried to call her at school it was always the same response from the secretary, “I’m sorry she’s with a student now. Would you like to leave a message?” But Spirit could never think of the right words. Those would have to be the perfect words, and the coach just did not have the confidence to find