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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Becahi - Pleasant Valley Lightning Bowl

Imagine a high school football game where, suddenly, everyone starts leaving before the half. Imagine a game in which even the bands are sent home. That's what happened at last night's Lightning Bowl at Liberty Stadium, when Bethlehem Catholic's overconfident Golden Hawks hosted a determined Pleasant Valley. Everyone picked Becahi to win, but nobody told the Bears. They came to play football, and very nearly pulled off an upset.

Winning the toss, Becahi marched down the field for an easy touchdown. It looked like it would be a repeat of the trouncing delivered to Liberty High School last week. But just as quickly as Becahi scored, so did Pleasant Valley. Then it did it four more times, sending fans into shock, as thunder rumbled in the distance and fans kept one eye on the game and the other on the weather. As the clock wound down, fans from both sides began to leave, especially after the PA announcer said, "If lightning strikes, seek shelter."

Hickey claims he can't be struck by lightning 
Jim Hickey and his lovely wife Carla were sitting nearby. He refused to go, so i stayed, too. I introduced myself to his wife, figuring I might as well be polite before some bolt flew up my ass.

Hickey claimed he's already been struck by lightning once, so he's got nothing to worry about. "What are the odds of me getting stuck twice?" he asked, and about thirty nearby people decided to leave right away.

"I'm immune, too," I bragged back. "I'm a blogger so I get professional courtesy."

"No, Bernie, all that means is you wouldn't get hit by a geyser of raw sewage," Hickey responded.

While we traded insults, Becahi was marching down the field.  Freddie Simmons managed to score a TD pass right before the end of the first half, despite a limp that seemed to hobble him throughout the game.

As the buzzer went off, Beca was still down 35-21.

After sitting in the rain for 15 minutes, the PA announcer ejected us all at the direction of Liberty's Athletic Director. Play would resume once the lightning had stopped.

I waited until nearly 10 pm in my car,  when both teams returned to take care of unfinished business.

Unfortunately, Pleasant Valley still looked very good. The Bears mounted a nice drive, picking apart the Becahi secondary. Then they kicked a 42-yard field goal, increasing itheir lead to 38-21.

Then Beca went finally woke up after a broken play.

Things looked really bad when Freddie Simmons got the ball on a 3rd and ten and decided to go cross field instead of cutting it up. Then he actually began running toward his own goal line as hungry Bears followed, pouncing on him for the kill. Instead of going down and holding onto the ball, as he is certainly coached to do, Freddie did something any coach would call foolish. He lateraled the ball in the general direction of QB Julian Spigner. His teammate grabbed it and dashed down the field for a touchdown.

What the hell does a coach say when a player breaks every rule in the book and the result is a touchdown?

In addition to the touchdown, that play ignited the team. The Bears would still play tough, but it was all over.

The Golden Hawk offensive line began opening gaping holes for Spigner, as well as Michael "M1" McDaniel and Damien Diaz, with an injured Freddie luring defenders away. A Becahi team known for its air attack suddenly had a ground game. It resulted in three unanswered touchdowns. As the fourth quarter started, Becahi was suddenly on top again, 40-38, with the few fans left making much more noise than the much larger first half crowd.

To its credit, Pleasant Valley never quit. With very deceptive screens and slashing running plays, it marched down the field to the Becahi 2 yard line. Then Beca's defense, which had been incredibly weak throughout this game, suddenly got tough. It bounced Pleasant Valley back three times. On 4th and 2, the Bears took a time out to decide whether to take an easy field goal, which would give them a 41-40 lead, or put the game out of reach with a touchdown. 

They went for it.

And were stopped.

From that point, Becca held onto the ball until one of the most exciting games I've seen was over. A game that had started at 7 pm went until a little after 11. Becahi walks away with a 2-0 record going into next week's game against Pocono Mountain West.

(You can see the crazy lateral at the end of this video clip,) 


Anonymous said...

" A Becahi team known for its air attack suddenly had a ground game."
Not entirely true. Freddie and Julian seem to get more of the hype, but for two seasons McDaniels has been a work horse, and the glue that holds the BECA offense together. BECA ran at will the second half of last year, and as this offensive line matures, will do the same.

Anonymous said...

Fred Harris delayed the game so his wife, family and close friends could squeeze the district taxpayers for some overtime pay!

Anonymous said...

Boy, more drama than a council committee meeting!

Anonymous said...

Fides et Scientia!

Anonymous said...

Excellent recap, Bernie. It was worth watching the entire video to see the lateral. Heads up play by everyone - on Beca.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's what turned the game around.

Anonymous said...

Michael is a very effective running back but not the glue. Becahi can win without him but would be in trouble if the QB were not playing. Michael is also the recipient of generous play calling when other players get Becahi into scoring position. Granted he has a knack for the endzone but others aren't called upon to run the ball short distances. ..bootlegs, fullback, quick outs near the goal line haven't been an option. The QB just wins and seems to keep his composure during the good and the bad and the team follows his lead...