Its the week of the big game. We are playing Iowa Western, the #2 team in the nation, the team that declassed the Blue Dragons last year. Bad blood is in the air for this one. If we win; we become top 5 in the nation, placing us that much closer to not only a conference championship, but rather a national. If we lose, the journey to the rings is extended.
All the hype and trash talk kicks up immediately after the win against Independence. Winning a game that will be on Netflix is good for an athlete’s soul. Team morale is abnormally high; players and coaches. We enter the week with a steady mindset, all focused on sending the Rievers on a long sad drive home. We practice long and hard. Everything will never be perfect on the turf, but we reach a comfortable place; confident that the future holds a Blue Dragon Victory.
Its game day. We meet at the stadium to begin our pregame rituals; eat together, relax, envision the win, and prepare to take it. Jerseys are on pads. Wrists and ankles are taped. Cleats are tightened. Everyones ready to go. The ball is struck off the tee; the first shots of a long war, for us that is. We strike first using the schematics we’ve practiced all week. They answer with a field goal, taking what they could because thats all we would give. It looks like this one will be a quick one. Then everything took a turn for the worst. The Riever offense eluded our defense in a number of ways, while the defense had an answer for everything we were attempting. The game had become a slippery slope, one angled against Big Blue. Finally toward the end of war, beaten and battered, we make a comeback and tighten it up. As quick as we show signs of life, they are quicker to take it away. We lose the game 33-24
Nobody in the halls at night. The lobby was soulless. The entire dorm silenced. Dramatic? Not at all; this is college, we are supposed to be passionate about the game! But can we bounce back from this one?
…of course we can; we defeat Fort Scott 61-21 in conference play the next week; everything is back to normal.