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Off the Rim column: Trojans can't regret Friday's loss

September 20, 2012
By Jimmy Gillispie - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Jose Fonseca is one of the South Tama Trojans football players that might be taking Friday night's loss extra hard.

It was Fonseca's extra-point kick that was blocked in the third quarter, which appears as the difference in the Trojans' 28-27 loss at Newton. That one point was the difference only on the scoreboard. However, a handful of other plays or decisions leading up to and after that moment, probably have STC coach Jay Hoskey and his players second guessing themselves or wishing they could redo a moment in the contest.

The first of those came after the Trojans took the opening possession 68 yards for a touchdown. They allowed Newton to return the ensuing kickoff 90 yards, tying the game. The Cardinals ran up the middle and made the return look easy.

While it was less than six minutes into the game, it was huge. STC's offense looked unstoppable and made a statement with its first drive. A team that entered the game 0-3 was down early and appeared to headed toward 0-4 gave itself life with the kickoff return.

Special teams can often play an important role during a football contest and they did Friday. Kickoff or punt returns happen, but they either give a team confidence or hurt the opposing team with a quick jab.

The Trojans shook off the quick score by Newton with their second touchdown later in the quarter. As any good competitor does, they went back to their bread and butter, which proved too tough for Newton.

With the game tied 14-14, South Tama had a chance to score a touchdown or, at worst, a field goal at the end of the first half. STC had four plays inside the Newton 5 yard line and ran it four times. I'm sure coach Hoskey regrets not kicking a field goal, running outside or throwing a pass in that situation.

If he had another chance, I bet he does one or all of those things. However, like the old adage says, hindsight is 20/20. Call it coaching arrogance (all coaches are guilty of it) or competitive juices, but I'm sure Hoskey and his players thought they could run one yard to score a touchdown on fourth down.

I know I would have done the same. I might have run a different play, as I'm one who loves a play-action pass to the tight end near the end zone, but no way would I regret trying to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 1 yard line. Most people in the football world believe if you can't gain one yard when you need it, you shouldn't get the first down or touchdown. Unfortunately, STC didn't get it, but if that chance happens again, I hope Hoskey rolls the dice. No guts, no glory.

Later in the game, came the blocked extra point. A Kyle Stephenson touchdown gave STC a six-point advantage in the third quarter. Fonseca easily made the first three extra-points, but the offensive line let a couple Newton players though and the kick was blocked.

At the time, I remember thinking, "I hope this doesn't come back to bite STC in the butt." Well, it did. It wasn't Fonseca's fault, because he had no chance on make a kick through the uprights with defenders nearly in his face.

A pair of special teams plays will be the ones remembered from this game. It's that third phase of the game that is often forgot about, but it can ultimately decide the winner. Now, the Trojans must learn from those mistakes and move on. Any loss stings, especially a one-point defeat in a game you should have won, but STC can't let it carry over to this week's game.

No need to regret what happened in Newton. You can't change the past, but you can learn from it. If only we could foresee the future before we take action. Where's Marty McFly and Doc Brown with the Delorean?



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