August 14, 2013
Trip to the Georgia Dome
Riding north on I-20, the Burke County bears arrived to the Georgia Dome. There was complete silence no one talked, laughed, or smiled. The coaches and my fellow teammates were focused and ready to play. It was a beautiful day on December 10, 2011, the date of the Georgia High School Sports Association AAA Football Championship game. It was Burke County’s second appearance at the championship in school history. As the team and I unloaded our bags from under the charter bus, we walked towards the same locker room as the Atlanta Falcons. There we unloaded our armor, helmets, shoulder pads, girdle, pants, jerseys, cleats, and gloves; it was time to go to war. The tension and nerves were intense. In the locker room, we got dressed and taped. Our coaches displayed their championship rings from high school and the collegiate level. Head coach, Eric Parker, gathered everyone into one room and showed us the rings and gave his pre-game speech. With a strong and confident voice he said, “Men this is what we worked hard for all season long, from scorching hot summer workouts, to running wind sprints in thirty degree weather two weeks ago. Leave everything on the field, fight for your brothers and do what you were destined to do win a state title. Prove to everyone that doubted you and said it was not possible wrong! Now let’s go play ball!” Walking through the tunnel to enter the field, I heard the sound of our loyal fans, friends and family, as well as the opponent’s fans. I approached the field amazed by how bright the lights were. Thirty minutes before halftime, the offensive line and I prepared mentally for the game. We reviewed different blitz packages, pass protections and alignments. We also warmed up and ran a few plays for warm up. The blood was pumping and everyone had a nice sweat going, it was time to play football. We were the home team facing our opponents, the Peach Co. Trojans. Half of the Georgia dome was filled with silver, black, and blue. Our opponents filled the other half with gold and black. We had won the toss and chose to kick the ball. The kickoff team was ready, and the official blew the whistle to start the game. As the kicker approached the ball, the crowd chanted, “BOOOM!” as the ball was kicked to the receiving team, the Trojans. They would take their first possession of the ball on their twenty –three yard line.
For majority of the first quarter the game was scoreless until the Trojans threw a thirty – eight yard touchdown to score first. The game was now zero to seven and the Trojans defense was pretty solid. On offense we had some good drives but just couldn’t score. This was unlike us, since we had set the record for most points scored in the state of Georgia. Six minutes into the second quarter the Trojans scored once again. We were now down fourteen to zero. The Trojans kicked the ball off to us with less than five minutes left before halftime. We received the ball on the 30 yard line. Before the offense lined up on the field, our offensive coordinator told us, “This is the time to be great! We are not out of this game, let’s score on this drive and get the ball back after halftime and have a chance to tie up the game.” On our own thirty yard line we marched the ball down the field. With our fast paced offense, we were able to weaken and tire the defense. With the defense being tired, the offensive line and I gave a big push to score the first touchdown. Although we scored,