Friday, November 04, 2005

Football's been a great beat

Here's the weekly sports column.

Football has been a great beat

By SPC. IAN BOUDREAU/Turret Sports Editor

"Could you tell me how to get to the high school, sir?"

I was in a hole-in-the-wall gas station somewhere deep in Green County when I asked the attendant, who was dressed in blue denim bib-overalls, for directions.

He answered in as thick a country accent as I'd ever heard.

"Aw, yah jus' heayad dayawn to tha first laght," he drawled cheerfully. "Thayan take a leyaft. It's abaht a mahle or so dayawn the road."

I pulled into the Green County High School parking lot just in time to see the opening kickoff. It was a cool evening, and spectators and family members were milling around the backside of the stands, eating free chili from a stand set up by some boosters and watching their breath steam up the air.

I edged my way onto the field, scooting a plastic barricade aside. Both cheerleading squads were lined up in front of the home stands, and the Green County Dragons on the sidelines were yelling at their other players on the field.

The Eagles were driving hard, and I watched from the sidelines from behind my camera as they took early control of the game. By the end of the first quarter, Dezmond Larkins had run in a 33-yard touchdown, the team had picked off one interception, and had pushed all the way to a first and goal on the Dragons' three-yard line.

It was impossible not to get excited for Fort Knox that night. I'm not supposed to have any team loyalties or affiliations when I'm attending a game in an "official capacity," but there were several reasons to get worked up last Thursday.

It was the final game of an up-to-then winless season, and the Eagles were looking good. They were pulling off plays they had known how to do nearly all year. They were using their strengths on the ground. The defense was stopping most of what the Dragons were throwing at them.

Also, it was potentially the last Fort Knox Eagles game I'd ever cover. Six months ago, I didn't think I'd be here long enough to see the end of another football season; yet, here I was. Odds are, by the time another summer has come and gone, I’ll be stationed somewhere else.

By the second half, the Dragons were coming apart, and from the sidelines I could hear grumblings about late hits and vicious personal fouls. Knox didn't play into the Dragons' hands, though, and as the clock ran down the mood on the visitors' side of the field became ever more buoyant.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Troy Meno found senior Lateef Frye and connected. Frye charged up the field for a 78-yard touchdown run. The crowd of Eagles fans and family who had made the trek to Green County roared.

And when the final buzzer did sound, Knox had won decisively, 48-19.

On the drive home, I wondered when the next time I'd get to cover a football game would be. Would it be here? Another duty station? Maybe for a civilian newspaper years from now? I guess there's no way to tell for sure.

I don't know when I'll get to cover another football game, but the time I've spent watching the Fort Knox Eagles has been an education, as well as a lot of fun.