August 19, 2018

First Financial Bank First Flash: Was that really an upset?

They call it an upset because one team is ranked higher than the other, if the “other” is ranked at all.

I’m not trying to get philosophical and claim there are no upsets, that the better team is the one that wins and that’s just a matter of fact.

If that were true, the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls at their peak would have been 82-0 as opposed to 72-10. Stephenville would have finished the sweep instead of Kennedale coming back to win three straight sets in bi-district volleyball. Coach Alan Thorpe’s BeeBall team would never have lost to Sweetwater (Sweetwater?) immediately after knocking off 6A Coppell this week in Granbury.

Brad Keith has covered Erath County sports through journalism or radio since 2000. His periodical columns have been a part of daily sports coverage since 2014 on TheFlashToday.com.

And don’t even get me started on the WTAMU win over Tarleton in the regional tournament Thursday. THAT was upsetting for many locals this week.

Appalachian State over Michigan. Upset.

The New York Football Giants with a giant Super Bowl catch by an otherwise no-name receiver to hold off the previously unbeaten New England Patriots.

Any time Brownwood is lucky enough to beat Stephenville….

Okay, the last one is just a dig.

Upsets happen.

First thought following the games! Each Friday and Saturday this football season, brought to you by FIRST FINANCIAL BANK.

But if you wandered into gorgeous Vernon Newsom Stadium Friday night having never seen a poll and having never herd of this Argyle side or that Stephenville team, would you think what you saw was an upset?

All I saw was Argyle get very upset.

In a literal sense, not the figurative way the word is so often used in sports.

Stephenville T-totally manhandled Argyle in the first half. If you went into that stadium with that totally clean slate discussed above, at halftime you would have thought Stephenville must be upset to be ahead only by a touchdown.

You could say Argyle should have had 10 points on the board at half. And if the first deflected field goal by Cole Pettit was the only block of the night, I would tip my hat and yes, you’re right, that was an anomaly. Statistically speaking, if you kick and kick and kick, eventually you will have one blocked, and then you’ll move on and resume kicking cleanly once more.

But two blocked field goals, a blocked punt and a muffed punt you never should have touched? That’s not an anomaly; that’s a special teams unit with flaws that finally met an opponent capable of exposing them. That’s what happens when you whittle away all the layers of fat in a far-too-inclusive playoff system – you finally get down to 16 very good teams that expose the weaknesses in one another.

Stephenville successfully challenged Argyle in ways they supposedly could not be conquered. In a restaurant before the game, a man I guarantee knows more football than 90 – if not 100 – percent of hose reading this column said to a friend and I the way to attack Argyle is to run right at them.

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Thirty minutes later the Yellow Jackets were pasting the oh so mighty Eagles with runs bouncing outside the tackles, and with passes all over the field.

(Disclaimer- this friend also said he thought Stephenville could hurt Argyle by going upstairs to a certain big receiver who would be a matchup problem for the Argyle defense, and boy was he spot on with that.)

If a lineman doesn’t step too far down field (which had nothing to do with the success of the play) to negate a 36-yard touchdown pass at the first half buzzer, it’s 21-7.

Oh, and that blocked field goal? That proved to be a weakness exposed (what a low delivery, huh?), while Stephenville kicker Chase Carrlilo was clean outside his anomaly – with a successful field goal and four PATs other than his one miss.

Argyle people will say it should have been 14-10. But I saw a 24-minute whooping that looked every bit of 24-7.

The Eagles came back, sure. I mean, it’s not as if they were suddenly a bad team after going 12-0 including a 66-8 area-round playoff win in which they led 59-0 by halftime.

But the Eagles never looked like the favorite, because mano-a-mano, down on the field where physicality, talent and a certain type of fortitude reign supreme, there was no upset Friday night.

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The better team won.

The other team was just upset.

Mike Copeland all but wrote this week’s First Financial Bank First Flash column for me when he located Stephenville head coach Greg Winder as I was interviewing him immediately following the game.

Copeland didn’t congratulate Winder on pulling some kind of rabbit out of his hat. This was no magic trick

Copeland, who knows as much about athletic competition as any person I know, simply shook his hand and acknowledged Winder having successfully motivated his kids to play as hard as they did (in not so many words).

Mike Copeland didn’t witness an upset. The athletic director who has coached teams to district championships in more sports than he even knows the rules too just saw the better team play hard enough to expose the other.

The better team is headed to Fort Worth Chisholm Trail next Friday to try and shut down perhaps the best ball carrier in the state of Texas.

Because the better team, the Stephenville team, ruled the night.

And the Argyle team that looked prettier to those voting in the polls was left to trudge off the field.

Defeated.

And literally, but not figuratively, upset.

 

First thought following the games! Each Friday and Saturday this football season, brought to you by FIRST FINANCIAL BANK.

 

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