© 2015 MChandler GHS Football 2015 at Layton HS Michael Chandler Photography-71

A Tale of Two Homecomings

Because of my high profile connections within the Granger High School athletics hierarchy (read: my brother is the head basketball coach), I get opportunities most people would kill for.  Or scoff at.  Or politely decline.  I’m closer to option A than I am the others, in that I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to expand my portfolio.  The current opportunity: shooting photos for the football team.

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I’m almost thirty years old, and I’ve never been to a high school football game.  Never went in high school, my brother played basketball, and after the both of us were out of high school there wasn’t much opportunity.  So, when the new football coach called me up and asked if I would shoot that week’s game, I said yes.

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That game happened to be the Homecoming game against their rivals, Hunter.  The game was back and forth, and then Hunter went on a decent run.

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Despite playing tough defense and having a hard-nosed running game, Granger lost to Hunter.  Now, usually teams would sulk off the field and get an earful from the coach in the locker room.  But this was homecoming, and coach was not going to let his players sulk off in front of their classmates and returning alumni.

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He gathered up the team, and led them in the fight song in front of the home crowd.  It was a tough loss, a loss that has a tendency to linger for a while.  The next week, the team would head up to Layton High School to play the Layton Lancers at their homecoming game.  There was no rivalry between the two school, or at least none that I knew about, so it wasn’t quite the same.

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Layton, while not a small town, has a small town feel.  All the parking lots at the school and surrounding the school were packed, and the surrounding streets were lined with the cars of those attending the game.  This might not have been a huge rivalry game, but it was still a big game.  And both teams played like it.

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They pounded the ball on offense, running it down their throats.  On third and short yardage situations, the Granger sideline would begin chanting “pound the rock”.  And that’s what they did.  The majority of the game was dominated by Granger’s running.  And on defense…

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On defense they would swarm the ball carrier, but at the end of the half Layton was up fifteen to zero.  The game felt like it was going to come down to whoever had the ball last though, because Granger shut Layton out in the second half.  Going into halftime, it felt like anybody’s game.

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Layton was running out of gas in the third quarter.  They were playing tough, but they were allowing Granger to break off big runs and make some spectacular plays.  They overcame the fifteen point deficit, and entered the fourth quarter determined to take home the win.

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Granger was trucking along, making those big plays and converting 3rd and 4th and longs.  Sometimes in spectacular fashion.  Both teams traded shots back and forth all quarter.

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Granger tied it up with a leaping TD run, and managed to force Layton to punt.  In the closing minutes of the game the Lancers marched down the field, and set up for a game winning field goal.  In a rare instance of “this actually works”, the Layton Lancers iced the Granger kicker with a perfectly timed time out call.  This game was heading into overtime.

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Layton won the coin toss, and elected to take the first possession.  The Granger defense held strong, forcing Layton to go for it on 4th down.  They could not convert, and Granger took over.

Sydney Alofipo ran the ball in from two yards out to win the game for Granger!

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Everyone was celebrating the win: coaches, players, parents, students, everyone.  And it was a deserved celebration.  Coming back from fifteen points down is difficult, but doing so on the road makes it that much harder.

 

 

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