My nephew-in-law, Justin, is in his first year as offensive coach for the J.H. Rose high school football team. A few of us drove to Greenville, NC, last evening to watch his team take on their local rivals in the quarterfinals of the NC State 4A Football Tournament. Conley–top seed–had beaten Rose earlier in the season, and the game was a real nail-biter as the teams traded scores all night.
Rose came out deserved winners when their defense made a gritty 4th down stop with fifteen seconds remaining on the clock and the score at 49-47.
There was real quality on both sides of the ball. But what impressed me most was how Rose, despite having two punt-return touchdowns taken away because of minor infractions in the backfield, never let their heads drop. The team’s self-belief and desire proved strong enough to overcome not only the eleven opponents on the field, but also four flag-happy officials. There’s no quit in these kids!
The win means they will play in the semi-final match next Friday night away at New Hanover. It also ensures that the sarcastic banner Rose’s cheerleaders held up for the Conley players to see before the match: “Tell your girlfriends you’ll be free next Friday night!” was tellin’ it like it is.