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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'Incredible football game' will not be soon forgotten

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Classic.

According to Webster's Student Dictionary, a classic is "a work of the highest degree of enduring excellence."

Pretty much sums up the 2008 Class 1 Show-Me Bowl.

And no matter if you were sitting on the Orrick side of the field, or if you were among the sea of green and white on the other, if that game didn't get your heart pounding and your pulse racing, chances are nothing will.

And while the fans, along with the players and coaching staff of the Thayer Bobcats, were rightfully disappointed with the outcome, you sure can't be disappointed with the blood, sweat and tears both squads left on the artificial surface of the Edward Jones Dome.

"It was an incredible football game that we witnessed, that these young men got to participate in, and that I got to coach in," said Thayer Head Coach Billy Webber. "I think it was every thing I imagined it to be. I knew it would be just what it was. It was just a slugfest."

Sentiments echoed by Orrick Head Coach Pat Richard.

"That was amazing. That was the most dramatic football game I've ever been part of in my lifetime," he said. "I don't know if you're going to find more heart on the field than what was exhibited on both sides today. That was the toughest team we have ever played against. As far as physically and mentally tough -- those kids never let down or quit."

And if there's one thing that never crossed the minds of these 2008 Bobcats, it was quitting.

Not when they had their backs against the wall on a stormy night in Mountain View in mid-September, a time when they were missing several key players with injuries, nor with 10 seconds left on the clock in late November, with the state championship on the line.

These Bobcats never gave up the fight.

Especially against Orrick.

"There was just so much heart and courage out there today -- this is what high school sports is all about," said Webber. "It was really exhibited out there today in this ballgame. These guys laid everything they had on the field and played with all the heart they have in them."

After reaching the Show-Me Bowl last year, Thayer had its sights set on a return trip this time around, despite the fact the Bobcats were missing several key components off last season's state runner-up squad.

But according to Webber, those losses were nothing that couldn't be made up with some hard work and some veteran leadership.

"I complemented these guys in the locker room on how much commitment they had," he said. "We lost 10 guys off last year's team and these two guys (Luke Martin and Jacob Eckman) are the reason we made it back here. They got everyone re-grouped and back on the same page and re-committed. They kept going and pushing and encouraging, and we got back here. It's just a real testament to these guys. They're real leaders and will go far in life, I promise you."

Oh, and another thing about this group of 2008 Bobcats? When you took the field against them, you better be ready for an all-out battle, complete with all the bumps and bruises that go along with a fight.

"To go two overtimes against those guys, you have to have an incredible amount of guts and an incredible amount of heart," Patrick said. "And today, we did and we finished. They (Thayer) are the most fun kind of team to play. They show great sportsmanship -- they're physical and they hit you in the mouth and then they help you up. That's the way it should be, but it's not anymore. But that's how it was today. Two great teams getting after it."



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