Look, I should just tell you guys right now: this thing is really, really long. Whether you scrolled down or not to confirm this statement, you are here. So thanks for showing up.
Now, given what happened at the Notre Dame-Chaparral football game, I bet the prospect of a long article about it worries you. Never fear, friend, because this is a dev diary. These things are easy reads.
Alright, now try not to freak out on me. This is not the kind of diary where I sit here and spill my thoughts about how Cindy in gym class does not know I am alive. Thankfully, a dev diary keeps the inner wishes of my heart masked and instead shares my thoughts in a minute-by-minute fashion. In the case of the football game, things like huge hits and cool nicknames come to mind, and not how those crazy eyes of Cindy What’s-Her-Name have never met mine.
And if you are wondering why I was not physically at the game, I was grounded. My mother is freaking out that I will not finish my Eagle Scout paperwork, so I am under house arrest until it is all done. So far, it has been surprisingly efficient.
But I digress. We cover the game here from start to finish, so how about we cut the chatter and get moving? In writing, two and a half hours is a long time.
5:01—ESPN commentators Tom Luginbill and Justin Kutcher (they seem cool, so we will call them Tom and Justin from now on) open the coverage with a word about Coach Bemis, and what he means for NDP. That is classy of them. It just shows how much he has established himself as a part of this community.
Did you know Coach Bemis had a 57-23 record while he was here? That is over a 10-year career with NDP. When you think about all of the sub-par years we had too at the beginning of the school, that .713 win percentage is even more impressive.
5:02—Praise for the NDP spirit (You like the way that sounds? Me too.) does not last long as the commentators turn to the “stars” of the game in Connor Brewer and Davonte Neal. I played Pop Warner football with Connor Brewer, and he, myself, Dugan Dwyer, and Brooks Brennan all won a state title together back in 2003. Times they are a-changin’, right?
In case you are new to the high school football scene, Brewer is ranked by ESPN as the number three quarterback in the country. His number one receiver is Davonte Neal, who is ranked the number two athlete in the country by ESPN.
You think these numbers are going to be run into the ground by the end of the evening? You are horribly, horribly right.
5:05—Kevin Sullivan, more commonly known as K-Sull, kicks off to Chap to start the game. Get after it boys!
You can hear the Dog Pound behind the camera. Hell yeah.
5:07—Tom and Justin literally have not stopped talking about Brewer. Literally.
5:08—Josh Roeckner (Jarsh/Wrecking Crew, for those who need to be caught up on nicknames) and the NDP front row stuff Neal on his first carry. Solid.
The same series, Phil Caniglia pastes Brewer. A philosophy I learned during those Pop Warner days was to find the other team’s best player and literally break his will by laying him to the turf each and every play. It worked. It worked well. Props to Caniglia for setting the tone.
5:10—Our friend Tom arrogantly says, “Now, I know what you’re thinking, Notre Dame’s the Irish. Nope, the Saints.” Thanks bud.
By the way, that pass interference call on Mo White? Total crap.
5:11—I am already sick of that option-stretch play Chap keeps running, the linebackers need to try and adjust. This is usually the point in games where my father and I begin talking game analysis. For some reason my mother is just not the same when it comes to football talk.
5:12—If they freaking say Davonte Neal is the #2 athlete in his class one more time . . .
5:13—Dylan Audsley is the Chap kicker. Traitor.
The “Bird Cage” looks weak after that score. C’mon dog pound, show ‘em up.
5:15—Coming back from a commercial, ESPN shows some pep rally footage from eighth-grade day. Nic Orlando’s dance moves are considered impressive by Tom and Justin. The latter says Tom has similar skills. Think again, J-Man.
5:16—Jordan Gehrke and the Saints’ offense take the field. Time to answer the call. This is our house, after all.
5:17—Grant Martinez gets some face time after being targeted deep on Jordan’s first pass. I always liked him, the dude is practically un-coverable. Tom and Justin like him too. Good feedback on the Saints so far by our friends in the booth.
My mother joins me, telling the Saints to “Run it, run it, run it!” Facepalm.
5:18—After a shaky first series, CJ Harvey (“the people’s punter”) comes on to kick it away. My mom comments, “Chap’s going to be tough. Notre Dame has to freaking settle down.” Mom. Hush.
5:21—Cody Ippolito runs the ball for Chaparral; what a moose.
5:22—Pete Greene, offensive tackle on Chap, has his name called. I swam with that kid on club. Unbelieveable.
Hey, did you guys know that Davonte Neal is the number two athlete in his class? News to me! I want to throw the laptop at the television.
5:23—A big return by Jordan Schlueter is spoiled by Audsley. What a tool.
5:26—Gehrke tries another deep ball to Grant. Nice to see them throwing to him. My dad, who I probably consider a full-on Martinez fan, would be very pleased.
Mom tells Gehrke to settle down again. Mom. Hush.
5:27—Geico shows that commercial with that little kid dunking for probably the millionth time. It stopped being funny the second time.
My mother sees what I’m writing about her. This does not help my grounded situation.
5:29—Nic Orlando saves the touchdown off of a Chap flea-flicker. It would be a cool play if the people running it were not wearing red and white. Just sayin’.
My mother curses for the first time.
5:30—The second time comes not long after.
Brewer starts hollering at a teammate after a broken play. Sorry your perfect world fell apart, man. I noticed recently that I become progressively more sarcastic the more I watch sports. This game is not helping.
5:31—Caniglia and Parker Zellers sack Brewer, and Chap runs Wildcat the next play. The announcers wonder if he needed a break. You bet he did.
5:32—The announcers talk about how the NDP crowd is starting to make some noise. Screw you, buddy. We’re always loud.
Chap is celebrating. I have decided I hate that school. My dad threatens me with a transfer to that place whenever I screw up really badly. This is very appropriate, when put into perspective.
5:35—Did our football team get new pants? Slick.
5:41—ESPN does a little thing on a high school 7-on-7 tourney. My mother is surprised that Brewer went. I want my father to come home badly. Screw the pizza, just give me some good conversation.
The Dog Pound gets on camera, and is still shouting strong. That is awesome, but all the parents look like they are moping. Buck up, for crying out loud.
5:43—A graphic is shown with head shots of Brewer and Neal. My mother wonders aloud why no one smiles in football photos. What a noob.
5:46—My mother says something about how things are not looking good. I think about saying she is not looking good, but I figure that is pretty mean.
5:48—A Marines commercial comes on. It occurs to me that their slogan is very applicable to the NDP drum line. The few. The proud.
5:50—A screen from Jordan to Nick Cole goes for a first down. Hell yeah.
5:53—Grant blows my mind with an incredible one-handed grab. Our friends in the booth are pumped about the Gehrke-Grant combination. They say its top play material. I am jealous. To be on Sportscenter’s Top Plays? That is pretty awesome.
5:54—Martinez is shown scrapping with Davonte Neal. Good job kid.
5:57—My mom swears for the third time. She then uses the phrase “settle down” for probably the eighth time. Mom. Hush.
6:00—It only took them an hour to specify that Chap is in the white and NDP is in the purple. Thanks guys.
6:05—Neal has a drop, so he throws the ball across the field in frustration. Classy.
Chap WR Josh Aganon gets a first down. The announcers say he is a huge Adele fan. They do not blame him, either. They talk about that 21 album for a while. Unbelievable.
6:08—Will “Schoolyard” Scola gets his name called. He is the X Factor, plain and simple.
Can we block one of Audsley’s extra points, please? I will be satisfied if we can at least pull that off. Come on, special teams.
6:13—I think it would help if each player on Chaparral actually had the physique of teenagers and not twenty-five year-olds. Just sayin’.
6:14—Davonte lets a punt go that he could have returned. After it rolls out of bounds, you can hear him say the f-word. I love mics.
6:16—Brewer celebrates on what he thought was a big completion. The ball turned out to be incomplete. But hey, he is perfect and all, so Tom and Justin say he was celebrating the guy’s effort. What a bunch of suck-ups. Pathetic.
6:18—Zellers absolutely crushes Brewer. Good kid.
I think my mother is at like nine swear words right now.
6:19—Want to read about how Neal and Brewer have a desire to win? Go to espnhighschool.com. Sick of hearing about Neal and Brewer every fifteen freaking seconds? Go to accordingtodazz.blogspot.com. Haters gonna hate.
6:21—A little stat is shown that say Chap averages 51.9 points a game. Mr. Luginbill says it is too bad they could not average 52. It is also too bad the Dog Pound could not be in the booth with you to tape your filthy mouth shut, Tom.
6:23—Auds lines up for a long field goal. My mother says something about how she wishes he would make it, for the sake of the accomplishment. I tell her he went to NDP. Suddenly, she hopes he gets a face full of turf. I have trained her well.
The brown-nosing ESPN halftime guy jokes how it sure is a relief Chap was able to tack on that field goal. He should be relieved that he is far, far, far away from Scottsdale too. ESPN high school is losing a viewer, thank you very much.
6:28—Justin finds a pinprick of light in the dark depths of his soul to say that, despite the score, anything can happen. Truer words never spoken, you jerkwad.
6:34—Halftime show. Do you feel like Lou Pinella is the kind of guy who spits whenever he talks? Yeah, like a freaking light rain on your face. Gross.
6:45—Our good friends Tom and Justin are back. They launch into more Connor Brewer kissie-kissie suckie-suckie. My mother is beginning to get angry with these schmucks for yapping about the “big two” over in Chap. More swear words inbound.
6:47—Mo White’s obnoxious orange mouthpiece looks even bigger on national television.
6:48—The first play of the second half sees a Notre Dame first down—Gehrke to Brooks Brennan, the Dog Pound can still be heard. Good stuff.
Brooks is “Johnny on the spot” with a fumble. Way to keep your head on a swivel, kid.
6:50—Did you know Tim Hawes always eats the cookie before reading the fortune? I do, thanks to his first down catch from Gerhke. Where did they get this information? I bet Tim has had girlfriends that did not even know that.
6:53—Davonte Neal sure likes it when he gets flags, that is for sure. Am I allowed to judge people through what I see on national television? Of course I am. Do not like him.
6:55—The official NDP enrollment—882. The secret is out, I guess.
Backup Chap QB comes in. Brad Schencker. His favorite athlete is Jay Cutler. Ironic, because his first pass is an interception. Now that is funny.
6:58—The ref does not realize his mic is on. He has third down, in case you were interested. Does he know that you do not have to yell when you are wearing a mic? Nic Cole has a “FIRST DOWN!!”
6:59—Grant makes the Chap cornerback look silly with a catch around the guy’s helmet. He has officially lowered my athletic self-esteem.
7:01—TOUCHDOWN NOTRE DAME! The Dog Pound faithful show their support, and Touchdown Jesus gets some face time with the camera. Another nice play from Jordan to Grant, good adjustment after that drop.
7:05—Avery Korth looks like he is getting ready to go in on defense. Still think he had a missed opportunity with picking number 48. How could he miss out on going one less and being AK-47?! How?!
7:08—The refs have been throwing more flags as of late, I think they honestly just want something to do. It has been a clean game so far, except the Grant scuffle with Davonte. I will be honest, I wanted a fight. I would take Grant in that one.
7:11—Davonte Neal shouts out to his homeboys or someone like that while the camera finds him on the sideline. I wonder if he is ever going to read this. I hope not.
7:17—Brewer throws the camera some hook-em horns, a little shout out to Texas, where he has verbally committed. Man, in Pop Warner he was not that good. How is this possible?
7:21—Your favorite back-up Chap QB Brad Schencker moans at the ref after he is tackled for the first time tonight. He is called for unsportsmanlike conduct. What a gentleman. ESPN said that was one of Chap’s keys to the second-half: “Keep it classy”. What is this, Rhett Johnston’s afternoon announcements?
7:23—Apparently, Tom Archer’s favorite food is “anything with meat”. I am not sure what I have to say about this. Tom and Justin liked it.
7:25—Dylan Audsley punts. Our announcer friends worry about him pulling a hamstring. Somehow, I do not share their concern.
7:26—Nick Duckworth is in the game. He hands the ball off on his first snap to Tyler Mascaro. The announcers are doing a better job with his name than Mrs. Stanley. She calls him “Marasco”. Every single time.
7:28—Apparently, Duck is a “big kid”. I had no idea.
7:31—Why do we need to see a shot of Davonte Neal filling up his Gatorade bottle?
7:32—Andrew Bills is given the prestigious honor of having the best nickname Tom and Justin have ever heard of in all of their coverage: Dolla-Dolla. What a gem.
7:34—My dad is home. There are five minutes to go. Thanks, pop.
7:36—The ref forgets to silence his mic again. Another FIRST DOWN!
7:38—My Dad lightens the mood by telling us all that one of our favorite dogs who had frequented (our family business) BellyRubz was put to sleep today. Did not need that. At all.
7:41—The laptop dies, so my mother brings me the power cord. She wanted me to thank her. Thanks mom.
7:43—Time is taken to talk about Coach Bemis. Pretty neat of Tom and Justin to give him some credit. Coach Gregory is praised for filling in.
Joey Prather is shown with his purple cross. In Len We Trust. Thanks for sticking it out guys.
Oh well guys. We played hard against a good team. When the camera flashed to the Dog Pound at the end there, it was neat to see how many Saints fans were still there. So we will keep getting after it. We will keep cheering and yelling and jumping around. If you are worried about making Coach Bemis proud, I would put your mind at ease. What he wants to see more than anything else is maximum effort out of his players and maximum spirit out of his fans. Are there things we can all do better? Sure. But we can improve, no problem. What matters now is that we continue putting our best foot forward. What we are doing now is already miles ahead of where we were, so keep coming out and supporting your Saints. I guarantee it means a lot to the players on the field and the folks watching at home.
But try not to go and get yourself grounded like I did. Because two hours and forty-five minutes of football with your mother is less than appealing.