Heartbreak Hotel on Valentine’s Day

Shots in the Darke

As I write this column, sitting in my kitchen at 3:00 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of the old Elvis Presley classic “Heartbreak Hotel”. Like all Bengal fans I feel like I’m “down at the end of Lonely Street, at Heartbreak Hotel”!! What a sad, empty feeling following the disheartening loss to the Rams by a 23-20 count (I predicted the correct score last week but  unfortunately had the Bengals coming out on top!) 

 Now Bengals fans can truly sympathize and share in the still raw emotions of Browns followers as both teams have now fallen in similar manners in championship games by  identical 23-20 scores. The agonizing 79-yard, 15 play drive by Matthew Stafford and the Rams late in the fourth quarter yesterday was eerily reminiscent of the 98-yard, 15 play drive by  John Elway and the Broncos in the ‘96 AFC championship game overtime win over the  Browns. Elway and “The Drive” became famous in NFL lore and I’m afraid that Stafford and the Rams will become known for the same. 

Some random thoughts on SB LVI—

Joe Burrow completed 22 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown (nice trick play with  Joe Mixon hitting Tee Higgins for a TD in the second quarter!) but was harassed in the latter  part of the game, being sacked a total of seven times by Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and a  relentless Ram rush. 

Why, oh why on third down and one in the last minute of the game did Samaji Perine (2 rushes for 0 yards) get the ball instead of Mixon who ran for 72 yards on 15 carries? 

Cooper Kupp and Stafford came up big at crunch time, aided by three consecutive penalties called against the Stripes, one of which was a dubious pass interference flagged on Logan Wilson who otherwise played a brilliant game. The Rams were only whistled twice for a  total of 10 yards the entire contest while Cincinnati was penalized only four times for 31 crucial  yards (what the heck was Vernon Hargreaves doing running onto the field, out of uniform,  following a Bengals interception in the end zone, costing the team a 10 yard penalty?). 

I like to think that I’m pretty open and willing to “go with the times” but evidently I’m in the  wrong demographics for the Hip-Hop halftime performances yesterday; I didn’t realize that so  many performers could all suffer from what was obviously groin pain!  

Super Bowl ads are always a hugely anticipated part of the telecast but other than a few,  again I must be getting old, I thought they didn’t influence my buying habits in any way, shape,  or form. 

The Rams’ Sean McVay became the third Miami University graduate of the “Cradle of Coaches” to win a Super Bowl. John Harbaugh led to Ravens to victory in SB XLVII over the 49ers but can you name the other RedHawk alum who led his team to glory?  

Changing gears, congratulations to the Versailles girls’ bowling team on capturing the MAC championship last week!

High school basketball tournaments are in full swing this week. On the girls side Ansonia, Versailles, and Greenville were eliminated in first-round action but others moved on in the brackets: Bradford plays Springfield Catholic Central Tuesday, Arcanum takes on Northridge Wednesday, Mississinawa Valley faces Houston Wednesday, and Franklin-Monroe matches up  with Tri-Village Thursday.  

In boys play this week Arcanum and Carlisle play Tuesday, T-V tips against Jefferson on Friday, and Bradford and Newton go at it on Saturday as do M-V and Russia. 

Finally, if you get the chance watch my interview with LPGA golfer Marissa Steen on DarkeCountyNow.com—she is the “real deal” and has an engaging personality. Also, for you music lovers, don’t miss the Motones versus Jerseys performance at Memorial Hall Saturday the 26th at 8:00 p.m. in what should be a great show sponsored by DCCA. Oh yeah, Weeb Ewbank, Miami Class of 1928, led the New York Jets to a SB III win over the then Baltimore Colts. The victory was the first for the American Football League over the National Football League and was a major influence in the merger two years later of the two leagues. The Jets’ quarterback that year? Joe Willie Namath!! 

“Although it’s always crowded, you can still find some room, For broken hearted lovers, To cry there in their gloom”. Cheer up Bengals’ fans, tomorrow is another day and we still have Joe Burrow and the gang!!

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

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