I was all set to cover Northern Highlands hosting Colonia. I was in that area during the day and I made sure to have a pregame dinner at Allendale Bar & Grill – a.k.a. AB&G – for one of their awesome burgers. I even saw a group of Colonia fans inside and had a brief word with them. Upon completion, I drove over to Northern Highlands, arriving at 6:30 for the 7:00 game. It was cold outside and I didn’t want to arrive too early. There weren’t that many cars in the parking lot and didn’t think of anything. When I got out of the car, I heard somebody’s band and the PA announcer, which I thought was unusual before the game.
Except it wasn’t before the game.
The game started at 6:15 and I thought it was 7:00. By the time I walked in the gate, the first quarter was almost over and Northern Highlands was leading 14-0. At that point, there was no point in covering the game. For a few minutes, I was very unhappy and hated everyone for a few minutes. I stayed through the first half, hanging out in the end zone, and Highlands led 24-0 at the half.
I was ready to leave, not sure where I was headed – possibly home. All of a sudden, I get a phone call from my friend, who just arrived at the game. We stuck around until it was 31-0 in the third quarter and left.
I called another friend in the car and he told me Hoboken was leading New Milford, 14-8, and I decided to drive to New Milford.
There was four minutes left in the third quarter and New Milford was leading 15-14. Hoboken intercepted a pass and drove inside the 10-yard line, but New Milford stopped them on fourth down. New Milford picked up a couple of first downs, but ended up punting. Hoboken had the ball, but turned it over on downs with about four minutes left. My thinking was if New Milford picked up a couple of first downs, the game was over.
They did just that, with some hard, decisive running by quarterback Jais Juarbe, and drove to the 2-yard line, making it fourth-and-one. A timeout was called and I heard New Milford coach Bill Wilde yell “don’t score.” The Knights picked up the first down and Tyler Picinic stopped on the 1-yard line, giving them the first down with Hoboken out of timeouts and a little over a minute remaining. New Milford took a knee on both plays and the game was over.
It was a class move by Wilde. They had the game won and there was no sense adding another touchdown. He had the victory and he thought about the Hoboken players, not wanting to humiliate them.
That was my Friday Night Playoff Experience. I wouldn’t want to repeat it, but I made the best of the situation and I saw something good at the end.