By Chuck Williams
Corsicana Daily Sun
When the Tigers led 14-0 after the first quarter, I thought perhaps the trifecta of magical football moments for the program just might come to fruition.
Two weeks ago at Tiger Stadium, Richey Cutrer’s eighth graders faced a 4th and long from their own 2 yard line with seconds left in the game and a win on the line. And it happened. What? The receiver ran a go. The quarterback threw it up. The receiver caught it and raced 98 yards and thanks to some downfield blocking by his teammates he scored the game winning touchdown. It was one of the more incredible moments, and perhaps the most incredible moment I’ve seen at the eighth grade football level.
Last Wednesday on the final play of the game, Cutrer’s seventh graders were tied but had possession of the ball deep in Lancaster territory. As the Tiger Stadium play clock struck 0:00, the seventh grade quarterback (a kid with the last name Hoffman … yep his dad is your varsity head coach Steve Hoffman) rolled right a bit and threw a strike to his receiver. Touchdown Corsicana. Hello win column.
Friday night at Tyler’s Trinity Mother Francis Rose Stadium leading 14-0 even without the services of starting tailback Tray Owens, the Tigers looked to continue the offensive onslaught that began the second half at Forney. Perhaps the magic began at Tiger Stadium by some middle school gridiron warriors was going to carry the 72 miles to Tyler.
But before you could say “Earl Campbell played here,” John Tyler scored 37 points in two quarters and limited the Tigers to zero. With Owens out, Donovan Fields stepped in and rushed for 206 yards on 34 carries. The challenge is Fields also plays linebacker and safety. With Owens out, the Tigers are off schedule so to speak and the trickledown effect is tough, especially playing a program with depth and double digit wins the last four years.
And so it goes with a revitalized Nacogdoches team coming to town, the Tigers must get back to business and prepare to defend their homecoming turf Friday night at Tiger Stadium. Before the game, it was stressed that the team was 0-0. Now they are 0-1 in District 16-4A in a race far from concluded.
The former and great athletic director Sam Thompson always says if you play 11 games (in 2013 the magic number is 10 since the Waxahachie game was canceled by lightning) in a football season you’ve had a successful year.
Doc has ice on the injuries that need to be healed. Hoffman has had this week’s game plan instituted since early Saturday morning. It’s another week of preparation and practice for the players with a little homecoming activity sprinkled in to the mix.
No one on this program wanted to be 1-4 or 0-1 in District 16-4A, but as the world’s greatest doctor tells me over and over: Life isn’t a Walt Disney Move. Football is like life. It’s a rough and tumble sport.
Quarterback Devontay Bell put it best a few weeks back when he said, “It’s always fun when you are playing as hard as you can play and just trying to get better.”