October 25, 2014

Medina
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Noland commentary: Football, football, football

It was a wild, memorable weekend on the gridiron, so let’s Rick-o-chet around the world of sports and get outta here:

Hey, Nick Saban, you got a second? …

I’ve never seen a game end as unexpectedly as the Alabama-Auburn one did. Wow! …

I know there were a ton of 300-pound linemen on the field for the Crimson Tide, but how does no one come remotely close to making a tackle on the return of that missed field goal? …

Speaking of missed field goals, how does Alabama not have a decent kicker? …

And speaking of no kicker, that’s one of several reasons why I have no problem with Michigan coach Brady Hoke going for two against Ohio State. …

The Wolverines were also moving the ball at will, a decided underdog and were playing for nothing besides bragging rights, so why not go for the win? …

All the above added up to a great weekend for the Buckeyes and their fans, who look like they’ll get that national title game appearance they’ve longed for with a win over Michigan State. …

At the local level, a gigantic congratulations to the Highland football team for reaching the Division II state semifinals. …

The selfless, polite, classy, team-oriented Hornets were a joy to watch and a bigger joy to cover. …

I never “root” for teams I cover, but Bruce Kinsey, Myles Houska, Cory Moncol, Coltin Kinsey, Grant Wallace and the rest of the Hornets now join the 1985 Black River Pirates and 1995 Brunswick Blue Devils as the most enjoyable football programs I’ve chronicled in 30 years at The Gazette. …

There have been many others — we won’t even go into other sports or the list will get too long and I’ll forget someone — but those three stand out on the girdiron. …

It’s been 28 years, but I can still vividly recall asking then-Black River football coach Matt Stoll about having his previously unbeaten team do calisthenics following a playoff loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. His answer spoke volumes: “We did ’em when we won, and we’ll do ’em when we lose.” …

On a side note, here’s a great example of what makes this job so rewarding: A handful of years ago, I mentioned in one of these Rick-o-chet columns that one of the greatest high school quotes I ever heard was from a football player who talked about playing “Rambo ball” and “blood-and-guts football.” I didn’t name the player that second time, but he read the column and told his friends it was him. Naturally, no one believed him. I hadn’t talked to him in 20-plus years, but he picked up the phone, reached me at The Gazette and, without identifying himself, asked if I remembered the name of the person who uttered those words. I told him yes, and he put me on speaker phone so I could tell his friends. I could hear roars of laughter and shock in the background when I said his name. …

So he doesn’t have to call again to settle a bet, that player was 1985 Black River running back Larry Ensign, who is now 44 or 45 years old. …

We’re reaching the end for this week, so I’ll keep my comments on the Browns very short: They might not win another game. …

Don’t worry, though. Chud is gonna get this thing fixed. …

OK, on that uplifting note, see you next week!

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.