Shreve’s upset of Airline featured plenty of unexpected parts

Don’t count on it.

It’s what makes life interesting and puzzling and painful and thrilling.

Almost everybody counted on Airline’s football team rolling through District 1-5A again. Didn’t happen. Captain Shreve dropped the marauding Vikings Friday night.

That 60-35 final was a bit much, on two fronts.

First, as much as Shreve did spectacularly, Airline did productively. A lot more, actually.

The Vikings outgained the Gators 583-376. Granted, Shreve cashed in plenty of short fields, but what was as decisive as the Gators’ big plays was playing keepaway from Airline. Shreve had a 14-play, 8:09-long drive to its second touchdown, then essentially clinched the outcome when a deliberate 9-play, 6:12-long march ended with John Chance’s 41-yard field goal for a 17-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter.

Those two drives ate up more than a quarter of the game when Airline didn’t have the ball.

Second, 60 was a bit much. Shreve coach Adam Kirby admitted, he would have preferred 59-35, but with just over three minutes left and the outcome surely secured, he did what he had done all game. He let his offensive coordinator, John Mitchell, make the call and didn’t notice on the Gators’ sideline until too late.

“I didn’t call one play tonight. I’m an offensive guy, but I didn’t step in one time. That was his game plan and I was happy about it,” said Kirby, praising Mitchell. “I wasn’t necessarily thrilled we went for two. I was on the headset telling the defense, ‘let’s not get comfortable and think the game’s over, and go out and let them score.’ I had to apologize to Justin.”

Game was settled. Why go for two, unless you’re wanting to score 60 against the team that has almost made it routine lately?

But Mitchell surely did the math, saw 24 was just three touchdowns plus three two-point conversions, and two successful onside kicks (which is something Airline basically does all the time, in one version or another), and thought, “24? Safe?”

Don’t count on it. He didn’t, the Gators’ Javen Thomas sliced across for two more points that made the visitors’ tally 60, and Kirby felt compelled to apologize to his good friend Justin Scogin, the Airline coach, after the game. Scogin was unperturbed.

That two-point conversion was a show of ultimate respect. All night long, Shreve punched and Airline counterpunched almost every time.

Watching camera people and media pals scamper from one end of the field to the other, up and down the Vikings’ sideline to shoot video of scoring plays, looked like the teachers at the grade school field day in the relay race.

Seeing me do that?

Don’t count on it. As Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

Are you sure Airline couldn’t come from 24 down in the last 3:26 to force overtime? I saw St. Mary’s score 15 points in 21 seconds to beat Logansport for their district crown not that long ago. It’s high school ball. They play 48 minutes.

And there’s no offense in these parts (not even Calvary’s) that can light up a scoreboard as fast as the Vikings can. Ben Taylor, Tre Jackson, Jarvis Davis, Bryson Broom, Bob Patterson – legit. (Wouldn’t we all love to see that Cavs-Vikes matchup?)

The big question today: will Shreve roll through its last four 1-5A games and be the undisputed district champion?

Here I go again: don’t count on it. I think so, but in my two seasons of closely watching 1-5A ball, I’cw seen enough to know it’s no sure thing.

The Dallas Cowboys being a serious threat to San Francisco and Philadelphia in the NFC?

Don’t count on it. 

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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