|Roosevelt RB Pruitt almost always made the first tackler bounce right off.|
|The Polars' swarming D moved Roosevelt backwards.|
|Epps running for a first down.|
Before we get started on the actual game, a commentary on football team names is in order. Roosevelt High School's team name is the Teddies, presumably after former US President Theodore Roosevelt. This fellow was unarguably the most badass President in American history - possibly the most badass person to ever have lived or been created (not even Chuck Norris or Darth Vader come close). Among other things, he was a deputy sheriff, an explorer, a big game hunter, a police commissioner, the assistant Secretary of the Navy, and a war hero. And yet he never lost the soft spot in his heart for unadulterated violence.
He carried a pistol with him at all times in the White House, even though he could probably just stare at enemies' bullets through his monocle and they would stop out of pure fear. He even survived an assassination attempt and continued to deliver a campaign speech with the bleeding wound still undressed. Did I mention he had asthma growing up? Teddy Roosevelt beat up asthma too. Furthermore, he was a pretty darn good President to boot. Now I had asthma as a kid, and managed to beat it as well. However, I lose points in comparison with Roosevelt because I've stayed home from work when my back was sore and also when I had pinkeye.
And we're going to name a football team--FOOTBALL, a rather violent sport itself--after this dude by calling it the TEDDIES? That's just insulting the man's legacy. I should point out that naming the school after a president and then adding "ies" to the first name to create a team nickname can be problematic. Grant High School Ulyssesies gets tricky, although the Van Buren Martinis could work as a softball team sponsored by a bar. Hayes High Rutherford...well, I give up.
As far as the game goes, the scoring started after...
A series of turnovers and defensive stops by both teams. This led to the Polars starting with a short field, bringing the ball to the Teddies' 11. An 18-yard Michael Davies field goal put the Polars up 3-0.
As the first half was winding down, North High once again intercepted sophomore quarterback Damion Dickens. Trent Epps then fired the ball downfield for a deep completion to Dontarius Tyler at the 8-yard line with 24 seconds left. With the clock winding down, Epps carried it into the end zone himself for an 8-yard touchdown run and the half ended with the Polars up 9-0.
A North High personal foul penalty after time expired meant they were kicking off from the 25-yard line instead of the 40. This would have been an opportune time for Roosevelt to get back in the game. Their star running back, senior Starlon Pruitt, was almost impossible to take down. The first tackler usually bounced off of him, the second tackler would slow him down, and the third and fourth defenders to arrive on the scene were usually the ones bringing him to the ground. Roosevelt would often send WR Esrah Johnson in motion into the backfield as the quick, slippery runner to complement Pruitt's bruising style.
But Denzell Williams came up big with stops for the Polars, and Corey Smith had a backfield tackle after a botched Roosevelt snap. A poor punt into the wind barely crossed the original line of scrimmage, and thanks to its defense, North took over with excellent field position once again.
Despite a delay of game penalty and a muffed snap, the Polars scored again to put them up 16-0. The touchdown pass from Epps to Jamal Brown was especially impressive. The missed snap made Epps scoop the ball from the ground, turn completely around, and run to avoid pressure. His poise on a broken play was what gave the Polars their expanded lead.
Dontarius Tyler and Julius Britten made key stops for Roosevelt on their next possession. But when the Polars took over, Roosevelt's Esrah Johnson made his second interception of the game. Although Roosevelt started at their own 2-yard line, Starlon Pruitt bounced around like a pinball and brought his team to their most impressive drive of the game. Just when it was starting to look like Pruitt might singlehandedly carry Roosevelt on his shoulders back into contention, Polars' defensive back Jareese Johnson intercepted a Dickens pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
With the Teddies reeling from a 23-0 deficit, their kick returner made a serious mental error. On the ensuing kickoff, the ball was heading out of bounds at near the goal line. If it went out of bounds before crossing the goal line, that would be a penalty that would give Roosevelt possession at the 40. If it went out of bounds after crossing the goal line, the touchback would have given them possession at the 20. Instead, the return man picked up the ball and his momentum carried him out of bounds inside the 1-yard line.
The Polars' D forced a three-and-out and the punt made it to the 30-yard line. On a 4th and eight, North High running back Shelby Deloney clinched the game with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Pruitt and Johnson clicked against some of the Polars' reserves and led the Teddies on a touchdown drive in garbage time, but the end result was no longer in doubt. Polars 30, Teddies 6.