When I started at the Eagle-Gazette in August, I really didn’t know what to expect.
It always is a little nerve-racking when you start something new. Although I have been doing this for almost 20 years, I still had to get acquainted with the coaches and the community.
Things started slow. But as the first couple of weeks quickly turned into a month, I steadily became more comfortable. I have the football coaches to thank for that.
The first coach I interviewed was Fairfield Union’s Tim Bahen. I’ve already written about him, but what a treat he was. He is an old-fashion, no-nonsense type of coach I couldn’t help but like.
The Falcons only won one game this season. As it turned out, I covered it.
Then I had the pleasure of interviewing Fairfield Christian senior Ben Tobin. I had one of the best conversations I’ve had with a high school player on Labor Day morning.
It was obvious he loved the game of football, but the thing I took away from talking with him was how much he truly cared about his teammates. There is no doubt in my mind he will be a success in life.
As a sports writer that covers mostly high schools — I don’t know about other sports writers, but at least for me –it’s all about forming relationships with coaches and players.
Going into it as the new guy, you never know how things will go. But I quickly learned the coaches and players in Fairfield County are great to work with. They accepted me, and I was thankful for that.
As the season progressed and I got to know the teams and coaches better, I saw some outstanding teams and some impressive players.
When it gets down to it, you realize sports are all about players making plays. Coaches draw up the game plan, but the players have to execute it. Someone has to step up and make a big play when a team needs it the most.
There were many outstanding plays, but the one that tops my list from the season came in Week 10 on a catch by Bloom-Carroll’s Tyler Sorg. Even now, I still can’t believe it happened.
Under the circumstances and with everything that was on the line, it is right up there with one of the top plays I’ve seen in my career.
The Bulldogs already were feeling the pressure of having to go on the road and beat Teays Valley just to qualify for the playoffs.
Bloom-Carroll’s fate looked to be all but sealed when it fumbled the ball with only 1:55 left and trailing 28-21. But the Bulldogs held the Vikings and used both of their timeouts to get the ball back on their own 20-yard line with 36 seconds left.
Bloom-Carroll still had a chance, but with no timeouts and 80 yards to navigate, it would take a miracle.
Coaches talk all the time about big-time players making big-time plays. Sorg is a big-time player. I could see that first time I covered the Bulldogs.
After a couple of completions took the ball to the 48 and less than four seconds left, the unthinkable happened.
Sorg, who already had two touchdown receptions, caught a deflected ball of the helmet of a Teays Valley defender at the 10. After going up and grabbing the ball, he turned and raced into the end zone.
The Bulldogs eventually won 38-35 in double overtime. I was speechless.
It was one of those plays I will never forget, and it was a great way to end my first season covering high school football in Fairfield County.