The forty three young men representing Dryden High School acquitted themselves well in their final game as a group on Wednesday Oct 24.
Wrapping up a challenging move to the AAA level, the team battled for four quarters despite the knowledge the outcome was likely to be a foregone conclusion. Never did the boys allow the long odds to affect their effort or commitment to each other, attendance and attitude at practices was strong from August through October.
For that, the season can be considered a positive. In the first round of the consolation round of playoffs, the 2-5 Grant Park Pirates played host to the same team they defeated 39-0 in week 5.
Weather once again was a factor for both teams, the wind blew strongly from the south and impacted the kicking and throwing all day.
The Eagles were not able to cleanly field the opening kickoff when it died in a gust, the Pirates would convert the gift into seven points 4 plays later. The margin increased to 14-0 as the hosts mixed the run and pass effectively.
Unwilling to fold, Dryden managed to create the first of the four turnovers they would recover on the day. Now inside Grant Park territory, the Eagles pushed the ball deeper with consecutive first downs before stalling.
With time winding down and wanting to keep the wind at their backs, the Blue and Gold used timeouts to ensure a field goal attempt had extra legs. When kicker Tanner Montgomery’s foot sent the ball wide, the ensuing rouge at least avoided another shut-out.
The sixteen seniors playing their last game for DHS refused to allow the game to end without contesting each play.
While the Pirates added ten points during the second quarter, neither team registered a point in the third. It was not until Four minutes elapsed in the final frame did the last touchdown get scored.
The game ended 31-1 but the coaches agreed that it was a much better outcome than the previous visit. Losing is losing, but victories can be found in how you play the game and battle for your teammates.
As the off-season approaches, the coaches and returning players will dedicate themselves to improvement regardless of the division they find themselves in for 2019. There is work to be done to be consistent and allow for a chance of success, the seasons other than fall will be key.
Given that the program has excellent parent and administrative support, solid kids and positive coaches, the future should be strong.