Holy Cow!, Rings, and the Picket Fence

Shots in the Darke

In the words of the immortal sports announcer Harry Carey, “Holy Cow!”. What a great  weekend of NFL Playoff football! Three games decided on game-winning field goals as time  expired with the fourth, without question one of the greatest playoff games ever, going to the  Chiefs in overtime as they outlasted the Bills. 

The Bengals moved on to the AFC Championship game with a gutsy effort in beating the  top-seeded Titans in Nashville 19-16. Despite being mauled by the Titans defense Joe Burrow  responded time after time in leading his team to a dramatic win with rookie kicker Evan  McPherson coolly converting a 52-yard field goal on the game’s final play. What a turnaround  for Cincinnati after a four win season last year! Now on to Kansas City and a chance to go to  the Super Bowl!! 

How did the 49ers beat the Packers on “The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field”? Green  Bay’s special team flaws allowed the Niners to block a field goal attempt late in the first half,  then saw a blocked punt return late in the game converted into a touchdown. Robbie Gould  then made a 45-yard kick through the snow to “ice” the win.  

When you thought that Sunday’s games couldn’t possibly match the drama of Saturday’s,  the Rams tried their best to give the defending champion Bucs every opportunity to stage an  inevitable comeback. Four turnovers were finally overcome as Matthew Stafford and Cooper  Kupp combined to put a final dagger in the hearts of Tampa Bay fans. Have we seen the last  of Tom Brady? 

Finally, what can you say about the Bills and Chiefs game other than it’s a shame that NFL  rules deny a team a chance to have at least one possession in overtime! I feel for the Bills even  though they allowed KC to score a TD on the extra period’s only drive. Some changes need to  be made over the off-season in my opinion, what do you think? Are you not looking forward to  many years of watching Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes? 

GHS held the second annual “Night of Champions” Friday night, honoring eight teams with  league or more championships. Former players and coaches of teams from 1955 through  2001 were recognized in front of an enthusiastic crowd that truly appreciated their past efforts.  Many are already looking ahead to next year as eight more squads will be given accolades! 

How about those Cleveland Cavaliers? With all the attention being paid to the NFL and  college football over the past month or so, the Cavs have quietly put together a tremendous  season going 28-19 and moving into fifth place in the NBA Eastern Conference, only 2 games  behind the first-place Nets. Coach JB Bickerstaff has done a tremendous job in leading what  many “experts” thought would be at best a mediocre team this year. 

As she was going through a bathroom drawer the other day, my wife Kathy found my old  high school class ring. I hadn’t seen it in years or even thought about it, assuming it was long  gone many years ago. If you had one, can you find it? Do they even have class rings  anymore?

Versailles boys and girls bowling teams wrapped up successful regular seasons with the  boys posting a 6-1 MAC mark while the girls went a perfect 6-0. In MVL action, Greenville’s  boys are led by Alex Hadden with a 180 average while Justin Hadden and Luke Kiser check in  at 170. The Wave girls are paced by Aleiha Fenton and Maggie House with 143 and 128  averages respectively. Both Wave teams struggle in league matches however as the boys are  1-4 with the girls 2-3. 

Finally, what a great idea to hold the Versailles-Covington girls basketball game in  Knightstown, Indiana Saturday!! Played in the “Historic Hoosiers Gym” the site of the filming of  one of the greatest sports movies (in my humble opinion) of all-time, “Hoosiers”, the Lady  Buccs defeated the Lady Tigers but more importantly was the chance for the teams and their  fans to experience the heady atmosphere of old-school high school basketball.  

For my 65th birthday a few years ago, my wife and daughters rented the gym for an hour  and family and friends enjoyed shooting around and exploring the locker rooms and museum.  Can you remember Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper calling for the Hickory Huskers to “run  the picket fence”, or Jimmy Chitwood (“I can make it”) hitting the state championship winning  jump shot? Based on the real-life 1954 Milan Miracle where the small school boys won the  Indiana title over big school Muncie Central the movie earned both popular and critical acclaim.  If you haven’t seen it lately do so again, every basketball fan and young player has to be  inspired!! “Four passes” before you shoot!! 

 

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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