This piece was published in the September 2015 issue of the Prep News and was written by guest writer Patrick Bessenbacher
“Mary Queen of Victory, pray for us.”
The chant echoed through the locker room as the team rose to their feet and strapped on their helmets. The locker room was stuffy and humid, making it apparent how nervous and excited we all were. We wanted out; we wanted on the field. We wanted the chance to finally play, after four years and a long summer’s worth of work preparing for the very moment that was finally right in front of us. The game that was the beginning of something amazing for many of us; something we may never again relive.
The cool air snapped us from inside our helmets. It sent a chill and a rush of adrenaline through every player’s spine, indicating that it was time to play. We had been in business mode for over two hours, but it was finally here: the moment we had all been so worked up about.
We crowded the sidelines as our small, yet strong student section led the cheers gallantly. We were outmanned by size and by number, but they were out coached. From the first kick, it was clear: we were the better team. Every snap was like a fresh breath of air. No thinking, just reaction. Every man for himself but all for one service to the team. The ball was the target, and we were the missiles. Soon the anxiety wore off and the nervousness receded. Every man was in fight mode and there was nothing that could stop us. We had a solid defensive stop and then ran the ball down and kicked a field goal. We were up 3-0 quick in the first quarter. Two more defensive stops and the score was the same, but then the worst thing possible happened.
Rockbridge’s tailback broke the sideline and went eighty yards for the score. The air froze as the scoreboard read 7-3. On the sideline’s, though, you could hear the lineman coach Coach Burns yelling: “How are you going to respond to adversity?!”
And respond we did.
A long drive took us to the 15 yard line where we settled for a field goal. The snap was mishandled and after a great effort, Austin Wike unfortunately did not make it passed the goal line. Rockbridge had the ball on the half yard line. The defense came out and we had a hop in our step. We were ready for something awesome. We all wanted the safety, and we were going to get it. When Rockbridge’s offense lined up, I yelled out “Wildcat! Wildcat!” when I noticed their big defensive end was the quarterback. Martin Redosivich heard me and bust through the line and stopped the big, D1 bound end in his tracks, and as multiple white jerseys closed in, it was clear that he was not going to come out of the endzone. Safety.
From there, it was all downhill. The offense drove and score off the safety kickoff and the defense didn’t let up a single point the rest of the game. The sideline was electric and the student section sent out cheers to taunt the quiet Rockbridge student section. It was one of those games that you never forget.