Well, another week, another state. This time it’s the home of Arbor Day, Nebraska.
Grand Island (5-2) hosting Lincoln East (1-6)
I’ve had bad luck trying to see a good game, and this week was no different. Before I continue on with the game, first the stadium.
This was a nice stadium on the south side of campus named “Memorial Stadium” in tribute to all those who were lost in war. It’s a nice ‘small’ stadium for a team in the largest classification in the state. The stadium’s home and away sides are almost mirror opposites of themselves, including the one overriding quirk.
The side with the press box and what appears to be the main entrance from the parking lot is actually the visitors side. This isn’t the big issue. The home or away side is comprised of three sections each.
The main section done in concrete and 22 rows high is from the <18 to the 48>. I.e., the center of the main section is right around the 33 yard line or so. Then, there are two mini stands on both sides. From the <G to the <10 and from the 40> to the 30>. Definitely odd. Both sides were like that. The stadium held a track which looks like it was originally built for, so I can’t fathom why the stands don’t line up with the 50 yard line. Or, why they don’t have the two mini stands on the side with the largest unused sideline.
The stadium is field turf and according to a few fans, was recently rehabbed this week when a section near the GI logo at the 30 closest to the stands started to come undone. At the game, there was no sign of any prior issue.
As for the game, Lincoln East was outmatched. Grand Island’s QB, Adam Werner was just excellent in the pocket and picked apart the Spartans defense. The Islanders scored on the second play, 7-0 towards the ‘close’ end of the field to the north. After forcing another punt, another TD, 14-0. 21-0 still later in the first quarter before Werner really excelled. A broken play left him scrambling in the backfield for what seemed like ages and then heaved a perfect spiral a good 40+ yards right to a leaping receiver in the endzone where only he could catch it. Tack on the PAT, and it was 28-0 after one.
The second quarter was back and forth but with no scoring. After homecoming festivities at halftime, Grand Island got the ball to start the second half and quickly scored again on a long running play with busted defending in the secondary to go up 35-0 and invoke the mercy rule. Now, Nebraska, I found out, operates their mercy rule a lot more egalitarian than Iowa. In Nebraska, the clock still stops for change of possession, timeouts, and official whistles to stop play. What doesn’t stop it is incompletes, out of bound plays, etc. Iowa, two weeks ago, ran from the start of halftime until the end of the second quarter 12 consecutive non-stop minutes. After the break to switch ends, 12 minutes later the game ended.
Also, as the backups started cycling into the game for both sides and Lincoln East generated a bit of a ground game, their first score in the middle of the fourth nullified the mercy rule and we were back to regular clock rules. After recovering the onside kick, East proceeded down the field in a futile attempt. As time expired, they pummeled the ball the last few yards for the TD to make the score respectable, 35-13. The win clinches a playoff spot for Grand Island. It also sets them up for a game next week against Lincoln Southeast with a chance to win their league.
Overall, it was fun. Beautiful weather. Low 60s, no clouds. A light breeze that strengthened throughout the game from the south endzone.
Again, a fun night out.