Comebacks, Shoutouts, and Shootouts

Shots in the Darke

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What a weekend of NFL football!! Comebacks and last minute wins galore as the season comes down the homestretch and playoff berths are decided. Let’s begin with the Colts blowing a 33-point halftime lead over the Vikings, allowing Minnesota to post the largest come from-behind win in league history with a 39-36 overtime triumph. Then there was the last play field goal victory of the Bills over the Dolphins, giving Buffalo more breathing room in the AFC East race. And don’t forget the Lions (the Lions!) winning for the sixth time in the last seven games beating the Jets in the last minute. 

Oh, we’re just getting started! There was the overtime win of the Chiefs over the Texans;  the Jaguars over the Cowboys on an overtime pick six; and the Raiders (I still have trouble  remembering they’re not in Oakland) on an unbelievable lateral pass interception in beating the  Patriots (and you thought Bill Belichick looked constipated before that play!). 

But let’s save the best for last, thanks to the Browns Saturday victory over the Ravens. The Bengals, after spotting Tampa Bay 17 points in the first half, came storming back in the third quarter, intercepting Tom Brady twice and recovering two fumbles en route to two touchdowns and a field goal to take command of the game. Joe Burrow threw touchdown passes to four different receivers and the defense throttled the Bucs, allowing Cincy to take a one-game lead in the AFC North—WHO DEY!! 

The college bowl season has started with a plethora of somewhat meaningless contests, unless you’re a fan of those schools involved and/or an ESPN devotee! My Miami RedHawks came up two yards short in losing to UAB (but hey, a trip to the Bahamas wasn’t too bad!) and  the UC Bearcats fell to Louisville at Boston’s historic Fenway Park. With former UC coach Luke Fickell already in Madison, Wisconsin taking over the helm of the Badgers and new UC coach Scott Satterfield not at the game as he moves upstream from the Louisville campus of the Cardinals, there was a surreal feeling to the game! Next games of note this week are the Armed Forces Bowl matching Baylor with Air Force (that makes sense) and the Gasparilla Bowl between Wake Forest and Missouri (that doesn’t make sense—Gasparilla?) 

Switching to high school sports, the winter bowling season has begun for several Darke County teams. Greenville’s boys are paced so far in the young season by junior Alex Hadden with a 188 average and sophomore Luke Kiser with a 171 count. Meanwhile, the GHS girls are led by the appropriately named Tiffany Bowling, the sophomore averaging 139, with senior  Aleiha Fenton rolling a 136. The Wave’s next match is tonight against Vandalia at Union City’s Woodcrest Lanes. 

How about a quick look at boys basketball? In the Miami Division of the Miami Valley League Troy’s Trojans are undefeated thus far at 6-0 (6-0 in the MVL) with Piqua at 5-1 (4-1); in  the Valley Division Sidney leads with a 4-2 (4-2) record. Greenville’s Wave are looking for their first win of the season having gone 0-7 (0-6) to this point with a trip to Piqua Tuesday upcoming.

 In the WOAC, there is a four-way tie for first place with all schools having 3-0 league marks.  Dixie (6-1 overall), Preble Shawnee (6-1), Bradford (5-1), and Tri-Village (4-2) all share the top spot, setting up a great remainder of the league schedule. Up north Versailles is 3-3 (0-2 MAC) and is led by 6’7” senior Connor Stonebraker. 

Argentina became the first South American country since Brazil in 2002 to win the World Cup, futbol’s (soccer to most Americans) most prized possession. In defeating defending champion France, the Argentinians ended a string of four straight titles won by European nations. The 3-3 tie game (after 120 minutes of regulation and overtime play) was won by Argentina by a 4-2 count in a “shootout”. A soccer novice, I have trouble understanding how the sport’s most important crown can be decided by having players stand by themselves 12 yards away from the goal and the teams taking turns kicking away at the almost defenseless goalies (of the game’s total of 12 goals, nine were scored from the penalty area, three in regulation and six in the “shootout”). Regardless of my ignorance, the world and Argentinians in particular were enthralled by the “best finals in memory”! 

Finally, cold air is about to make its first appearance of the year so bundle up! Best wishes for a joyful and meaningful Christmas and holiday season!!