Overtime is without a doubt one of the greatest aspects about football. It brings fans at home to their knees and gives fans in attendance the inability to breathe. It’s exciting, it’s unpredictable, it will make you jump with joy, and it will rip your heart out. The greatness about overtime is that it has a love-hate relationship with just about every football fan ever. If you ask a Patriots’ fan and a Falcons’ fan about their opinions on overtime, I highly doubt you will hear the same thing twice. For El Diamante fans, overtime doesn’t evoke a lot of good memories.
In 2014, the Miners fell in overtime to the then undefeated Lemoore Tigers. If you were at the game, reading this will probably make you angry. Why you ask? Well, the final play of that game left a very bitter taste in the mouths of anybody affiliated with El D football. In their first OT possession, JC Robles and the Miner offense tied the game on a 4th and goal fade to Kruz Bass. And instead of kicking an extra point to send the game into a second overtime, Mark Rogers kept his offense on the field. They were going for the win. JC Robles broke the huddle as the offense walked to the line about to face the biggest 2 point conversion of their lives against an undefeated powerhouse, no biggie. Robles took the snap, rolled right, and fired a low bullet to Michael Arias. Arias slid to the ground and cradled the ball into his chest like a momma would to her baby. It was a catch. The 2 point was good, and the Miners had knocked off one of the greatest teams in the Central Valley. The fans went nuts, and everyone wearing an El D jersey stormed the field. It was a signature moment for every man on the roster, until a referee, who was standing 15 yards away, came storming in screaming into his whistle and wailing his arms in the motion that, us football geeks call, incomplete. It was a disaster, and I had a front-row seat to the whole thing. I was standing behind the end zone with some friends trying to figure out how to take down the giant inflatable tunnel. I stood there, shocked beyond belief, as the Miners literally fell to their knees in disbelief. Hmm, fell to their knees, sound familiar? Cheers turned to boos (to the refs, of course). Joy turned to heartbreak. And celebration turned into disbelief and chaos. There is an endless amount of questions that come with that controversial call. Some people may ask why the Miners even went for 2 in the first place. Others ask how it’s even possible for a back judge standing 10 behind the line of scrimmage, to overturn a call made by another referee standing 6 feet away. Questions upon questions upon questions. Quickly followed by a lot of answers and a lot of theories. That is the beauty of overtime. It turns you into a little kid celebrating his new toy on Christmas morning. And it also turns you into a teenager weeping over the breakup of her beloved boyfriend. There is no in-between.
— Anthony Bailey (@AnthonyBaileyTV) September 22, 2017
In case you have yet to figure it out, Friday night’s war between the El Diamante Miners (1-3) and the Dinuba Emperors (3-0), also, went into overtime. And just like 95% of overtime games, even that dreadful October night in 2014, it did not fail to disappoint.
The fun started when Parker Boswell and the Miner offense orchestrated a drive that ended in a game-tying touchdown. Boswell’s touchdown pass to Javon Hightower was completed with just over a minute to play. The good news is, if your school colors are green, then your team walked off the field victorious. The bad news is, both schools wear green, and the El Diamante Miners did not reign victorious.
After tying the game at 27 a piece, the Miners kicked a Field Goal in their only overtime possession. This gave the defense an opportunity to make a stand and send a strong message to the rest of the WYL. Dinuba responded with a 1-yard touchdown run to end the game. After yet another hard-fought and physical performance, The Miners went down 33-30 in a single OT period, dropping their record to a dismal 1-3.
The biggest question was, will the Miners have the ability to stop the run? After their dominant performance in the previous week against Monache, the Miners yielded 239 total rushing yards to Dinuba. And quite fittingly, Dinuba ended the game with a 1-yard run, throwing the last knockout punch in the face of the Green Sea.
If you believe in moral victories, you can definitely argue that the Miners had one on Friday night. It was homecoming night, one of the few games on the schedule that carry a little more importance, and the Miners battled their tails off. The offense put up 30 points, and the defense still showed a lot of toughness in battling an Emperor rushing attack that ranks among the best in Division II. This Friday, the Miners will have their first cross-town rival game of the season. They battle the Mt. Whitney Pioneers, who also stand at 1-3. Both teams are going to enter the game pretty darn desperate to get back on track. But like this past week, Whitney will give the Miners a dogfight. El D has lost a pair of heartbreakers in the last two matchups against Whitney. But that, quite frankly, does not matter anymore. Being an underdog is something that the Green Sea has always embraced; Friday night will be no different.
If you like dogfights and chippiness, this might be a game to keep on your radar. Game on.