Don’t over-analyze things

Friday night’s game between New Albany and Amory had one of the most exciting endings that you will ever witness. What made it even more exciting was the way the emotions of the game swung one way and then another, then back the other way.
Things started innocently enough with New Albany settling to let the clock wind down to three seconds for the field goal attempt. With the ball on the Amory 25-yard line, New Albany’s Eathen Rainey would make his attempt from about the 32-yard line.
What ensued after this was a lot of players making a lot of plays in a short span of time while just playing the game. Amory made the first big play as Fred Garth burst through the blocking and perfectly timed his angle and his jump to block the attempt. It wasn’t the kicker Rainey’s fault that the kick was blocked, Garth just made an outstanding play.
The ball was bounding toward the Amory sideline when an alert Chris Brown, who was blocking on the left side of the New Albany line peeled back and alertly made a sprint for the pigskin. Brown beat the Amory players to the football and finally collected it about the 40-yard line.
Brown circled back to the Amory 48-yard line, picked up a couple of blocks, dodged at least three tackles, swung near the Bulldog sideline before heading down the sidelines for the game-winning touchdown.
If you watch the video, Brown did not hesitate; he broke for the ball fast. Had he not, Amory would more than likely have picked it up and run it in for the touchdown the other way. The Panthers had about five players in the vicinity of the ball, New Albany had two: Brown and the kicker, Rainey.
After the play, there was discussion about the rules and whether the offensive player can advance the ball after a blocked kick or whether the kick can be advanced before a defensive player touches it, etc. The answer is yes, an offensive player can advance a blocked kick as long as it does not pass the line of scrimmage.
Now can you imagine how the final three seconds of the game would have played out if those players tried to over-analyze things like I do? Fred Garth of Amory would have broken clean into the Bulldogs backfield and then stopped and said, “It looks like I can block this kick, but I got here so quickly and cleanly, something must be wrong and I need to make sure that I take the proper steps to block this according to company policy.”
If Chris Brown had my way of thinking he might have said, “Well we’ve lost, Amory blocked the kick and it’s bouncing toward their sideline and I’m sure they’ll pick it up and run it back for a score now. What a way to end the game!”
Brown also could have thought “I’m not sure if I can pick up the ball and advance it, maybe I need to just leave it alone or wait and see if one of my teammates picks it up.”
Thankfully, the players didn’t take time to digest all that was happening, they just reacted to what was presented to them and we had a crazy, but exciting finish that very well could have been a loss if not for the heads-up play of Chris Brown.
Last week I featured Blake Spruill in this column and he was without a question, the player of the week in Union County for all sports with his big night. This week Chris Brown is my feature and he is equally deserving of the designation of the player of the week.
I once heard it said, “No other sport will teach you more about life than the game of football.” I need to just take each day as it comes and follow the example these young people set and not over-analyze life. I just need to seize the moment.
Dennis Clayton

About Dennis Clayton

I cover high school sports in Union County and occasionally contribute sports articles to sister community newspapers of Journal Inc. Follow me on Twitter: @denclayton for scores and updates on our local high school teams.