By JOHN INMAN
Well, I went to my very first seventh-grade football game last week. My wife, Cynthia warned me that this would be like Brandon’s first baseball game we went to a few years ago. The talent level is not going to be too high, she said and I shouldn’t expect too much, not like I’m used to seeing.
So, I prepared myself for the worst. I didn’t even try to use my Texas Sportswriter’s press pass to get in, so I wouldn’t have to pay. Dang, I’m glad I had to pay for us to get in, I would have paid anything, because it was down right exciting. To see my grandson, Brandon Cook, playing quarterback, even in the seventh grade, was well worth the price of admission.
Walking up to the stadium a few minutes late, the first thing we heard on the laud speaker, “Brandon Cook on the carry, he picks up three yards.” That pumped me up immediately. We made our way up into the stands. Not losing my balance, tripping or falling and making a fool of myself was a real accomplishment for me, I thought.
Once I able to focus on the game itself, there wasBrandon, wearing No.5, at quarterback (his favorite athlete is Ian Kinsler, the Rangers’ second baseman, who also wears No.5). I thought,Brandon’s team was in a spread formation, because that’s what the school’s varsity team runs, too. “Hey, this is pretty exciting.” Sure enough,Brandoncarried the ball on a keeper around the right side.
A few minutes later, Malakoff (his school) scored to take a 12-8 lead, andBrandonran in a two-point conversion to give his team a 14-8 lead. At that age, not too many extra points are tried by kicking. These little fellows just naturally try to run it in. You know, back in my day, not many were tried with a PAT, either, mainly because we didn’t have a decent-enough kicker.
So, Malakoff kicked off and Brandonwent back in on defense. Wow, a two-way player, I thought to myself, he must really be good. The defense held, and Malakoff was back on offense,Brandonat the controls. He’s got the signal count thing down, too. Brandon hands off to one of his running backs, A.J. Cook, no relation.
Moments later,Brandontakes the snap and rolls right and flips a pass to a tight end. Completion. Next play, he rolls left and tosses a pass way down field. Must have been at least 20 yards, but it seemed much farther. Completion. Cook-to-Cook again, but this time his receiver fumbled and the ball was recovered by the opposing team. Drat, the throw was perfect, but fumbles are part of the game, too.
Back on defense,Brandonstayed in the game and went to cornerback. An opposing runner broke loose, and Brandonwas in position to tackle him. However, he missed the tackle. The runner was too fast and sped right past him. That’s okay, at least Brandon gave it his best shot.
The game ended,Brandon’s team won, 38-26. Malakoff’s second win in as many tries. The win the week before was a 48-0 rout.Brandon’s dad Paul coaches the team. (Last season Paul was a varsity coach, but he asked to be moved down to middle school, so he could coach Brandon).
Afterwards, I congratulated Brandon, as well as his dad, my son-in-law, on their fine performances, and walked off the field one proud Papa John. Oh, Cynthia and I will make another game, expecting the same type of showing. You can make bet on that.
Until next week’s Time-out …