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Monday, October 24, 2011

Andover fights to the end (again) but last minute onside kick fails as Lahser prevails 28-21. Knights (6-3) advance to play Redford Thurston (8-1) in state play off.



I was curious about this football game.Some remarks by a lady at a school board meeting piqued my interest.I had to excuse myself from a dinner party to see this game. My wife was none too pleased about that but it wasn't exactly a black tie affair. It was a cheese(no fat)turkey burgers, Uncle Mike, the dog and "Zorro" the movie on a DVD affair. If that sounds dull one must consider that when one get older one has to watch one's sensory overload. That's why my wife didn't think taking Uncle Mike who is actually older than the city of Bloomfield Hills to the game would be a good idea.
"Tell me again why you have to go ?"she said sounding like she wanted something on file just in case anybody asked.


So I started to explain again about the lady at the school board meeting and my wife nodded because I had told her about the school board lady before.We agreed I would greet Uncle Mike at the door thank him for bringing the video, down a quick burger and vamoose.


 Kris Andonian Andover Football Booster. 
Every thing went according to plan except I went the wrong school. The game was not at Andover.So I went to Lahser where there is like zero parking. It is so bad you figure the smart fans parked at Andover and walked over. There is this street across from the high school. Pine Ridge. 


I parked  by the ridge, and grabbed the camera. Then a little flashing light tells me there is no card in the camera. So I drove home and got a camera card, drove back. Parked by the ridge and walked a half mile to stadium.  


When I  got there the score was Lahser 28 Andover 7 and the third quarter is almost over yet the excitement level rivaled that of a game that was just was just beginning.
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As the saying goes if you can't get excited about Andover/Lahser what can you get excited about? 
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My father class of 1939 (Stockton High,Stockton California)  got excited about about the game with arch rival Lodi California. I asked who won and he said, "we won two and they won two which was fair." 


For my wife it was Royal Oak Kimball versus Dondero but she refused to get excited and was in the marching band because that was the only way she could be in the concert band. 


For me the 1967 game Perysburg and Maumee was exciting because it was Perrysburg's first win over it's arch rival since 1963. Midway through the fourth quarter with Perrysburg, the home team comfortably ahead by three touch downs, The Perrysburg Police took the victory bell away from the Maumee faithful and drove off with it. You here it clanging off in the ever more distant distance. Later it was explained that the Bell would be delivered to the high school for a special Monday victory party. 


Luckily no one tried that at Lasher Andover 2011.Maybe. it was because Andover  didn't have what the the local constables might, possibly pre-maturely, considered the property of the home team. But Lahser 28 Andover 7 was about to change as the Andover faithful knew it would.


 Shorty into the fourth quarter the Andover Barons found the end zone. Thus 28-14 a respectable score. Not a blow out. 


And so it went most of the quarter until there was one minute and five seconds left in the game. 


That moment of time was frozen in score board history because  one of the teams called time out. I wish I could be more helpful but I wasn't paying particular attention. The game about to end I walked all the way to to Lahser side to be in position to get pictures of the winning team.  Then from the other side of the field, there was a shriek,cheering and an Andover player out distancing his pursuers and streaking towards the end zone. Lahser 28 Andover 21.
 At first I thought Lahser kicked off on 4th down and Andover returned the kick for a TD. The pictures of the scoreboard indicated a 4th down. The I heard something over the PA about a sixty yard pass play. It seems Andover on it's last offensive play of the season had thrown the Bomb and connected. The Andover quarterback #6 one Winston Urwillier threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns against North Farmington. In that game the Andover Barons erased a 46-13 deficit in the fourth quarter by scoring 22 points.Details and stats are gleaned from the October 23rd Birmingham Eccentric reporting on the October 15th game. 


With 45 seconds remaining. Andover would try to recover the onside kick. That attempt failed and Lahser was able to run out the clock on three snaps from center without trying to advance the ball. The Game ended Lahser 28 Andover 21. Players from both schools shook hands and went to their respective corners for team meetings and if you will celebration.
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The Lahser players after dumping a garbage can of ice water on their coach headed to the Southwest section of the home team grand stands to celebrate with their fans before retiring to Northern zone area. The Andover players, coaches and fans occupied the South end zone.


Both teams had had things to celebrate. For Lahser it is a trip to to the state play-offs. The fist since the Knights made the state semi finals in 2008. It is a a spectacular rebound from a two win season in 2010. This year the Knights got off to a 3 and 0 start only to lose the next two by devastating margins. The Knight rebounded to win three of their next four games and qualify for post season action. Here Head Coach Dan Loria explains some of the play off details while the Lahser Band plays in the background.
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For Andover there was the camaraderie of a tremendous effort against overwhelming odds to celebrate in a season the participants will probably never forget. The varsity had only 21 players of which 16 are seniors.Coach Jim DeWald told the Eagle Newspaper, "Numbers in football mean more than in any other sport." In a physically demanding sport an eleven man offense and an all eleven man defense is the norm. Players who play both offense and defense for an an entire game is unheard of in the last 50 years. No greater authority than three time Superbowl winning Coach Vince Lombardi said "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." In an eight game schedule, Andover played five teams that qualified for the 2011 Play-offs. 22 points in the fourth quarter against play off bound North Farmington is impressive. So is 14 fourth quarter points against Lahser.This was a team that played it's best late in the season, against the best when time was running out. That's not fatigue. That's something else. Kris Andonian who witnessed the handshakes,and hugs said."They've been doing it all season long." Maybe that is it. Too few bodies for too long a season.Whatever, many short season playoff teams would like to have Andover's fourth quarter moxie.
                             
Lahser Band post game
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When I got home, Zorro was just concluding and everyone wanted to know who won. I told them and told them the score. The real answer however is Bloomfield Hills with two teams to be proud of.






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