It's funny. I spend the majority of the year waiting impatienty as the calendar pages slowly turn toward yet another football season. When the season actually rolls around, those ten (or so) weeks pass in the blink of an eye. I feel like the season just started; I can't believe it's already over.
It hasn't always been this way. In the mid- to late '90s, I put so much time, thought, and energy toward following the Trojans that by the end of the season I was emotionally exhausted and, although disappointing, it was almost a relief when it was over. Somewhere along the line I learned to just enjoy the ride for whatever it turns out to be. As this game was ticking toward its thrilling conclusion, I was dying for a chance to do it all over again next week.
And if it had to end, what a way to go out. This was a great game, one of the best high school football games I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). Troy and Upper Arlington were evenly matched, and both were giving it everything they had. Both teams had highs and lows on offense and defense, and you never knew what was going to happen next. My throat was raw by the time the game was over, and I'm sure I wasn't alone--this was the Trojan crowd I was waiting for all season, raucous and hungry.
The Trojans had their chances to take a lead and perhaps win the game in overtime, but then again, so did the Golden Bears. I really can't fault the Trojans for very much in this one. Sure, there were some dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, etc., but you're going to have some of that. I tweeted immediately after the game that I didn't like the playcall on the two-point try that decided the game in overtime, but on further reflection, it was okay. It wasn't what I would have called (which probably would have been a straight sweep around the end with Marcus Foster), but on a one-shot deal like that, you just have to take your shot and see what happens.
I do think that going for two points in that situation was the right thing to do, and I had a feeling that would be the gameplan if the Trojans got to that point. If you go for the tie and miss, I think that's a whole different level of disappointment than going for the win and coming up short; and, more to the point, with the way Troy's offense was playing, I felt like they had a great shot to get into the endzone and win the game. It didn't work out that way, obviously, but I still think it was the right call.
Had the conversion been successful, I would have lost my mind. As it was, I was standing in front of my seat when the ball was snapped; by the time Isaiah got tackled, I was up against the rail in the aisle, about 10-15 feet away. No idea how I got there.
So now the season is over, and the careers of Troy's talented and accomplished seniors are over. It'll be interesting to see what happens next year, particularly with the offense. Will the passing game go back to being an afterthought without Cody May and Ian Dunaway? Can the experienced offensive line compensate for the youth that will take over the skill positions? The 2012 season starts on August 24 (that's 293 days from now, if you're counting), so those questions (and more) will have to hold off until then. I, for one, am ready now.