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High school football gamer on deadline

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Appgrad05, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    I had about 15 minutes to crank this out. Just wanted to get some feedback on strengths/weaknesses.

    Chris Richardson stepped to the 3-yard line, puts his hands to his mouth and snapped out the familiar cadence he had so many times before.

    "Red 10. Red 10. Blue. Set. Hut!" Richardson, the three-year starter at quarterback, barked in double overtime.

    But this time was a little different.

    Richardson pitched to Decaros Winstead, who kept on moving outside of the hash mark and toward the sideline. At the last moment, he pushed his wiry frame across the goal line.

    Two-point conversion successful. 21-20. Southern Nash beats Rocky Mount.

    This night, this chilly mid-October Friday night, belonged to those boys from Bailey.

    There was Winstead, the transfer from Wilson Fike, celebrating like he had spent his entire life in Firebirds' red, blue and white.

    There was Nick Williams, the massive offensive tackle whose future lies at a Division I college to be named later, standing at midfield in disbelief.

    Jerry Howard, the bruising fullback, ran all over the field. Howard scored the first touchdown and had 135 yards, but he wasn't on the field the final play. He had to leave the game in the fourth quarter and had to be shooed away from the huddle right before Richardson scored from three yards out.

    There was Cory Jones, whose two sacks had stifled Rocky Mount scoring drives. And Brian Allen, who had the accuracy on his 49-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth but was just a foot or two short on the distance.

    And then there was coach Brian Foster, lost somewhere in the middle of the rush that brought cheerleaders, students and middle-aged fans together under one big umbrella to celebrate the momentous win.

    The smart move said kick the extra point, play for a third overtime. But the longest-tenured coach in the area went for broke.

    Lost in the chaos was Maurice Batchelor. The Gryphons senior defensive lineman draped himself over the goal line, near the spot Winstead had crossed. In the cruel irony that is football, Batchelor and his defensive linemates success may have proven to be its own downfall.

    See, they had stopped the Firebirds from running inside the tackles.

    So that forced Foster to open his playbook. For Winstead to run outside. For Rocky Mount to fall to last place in the NEW 6.

    Julius Peppers did not beat Rocky Mount. Neither did Dwayne Herndon, Alan Atwater or Gary Tharrington.

    But those aformentioned names and the rest of the Firebirds, from Malcolm Moses to Kwamaine Battle to Brandon Pierce, did.
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Did Billy Graham beat Rocky Mount?
  3. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Not bad. A little overwritten, but it seemed the game merited some drama. The score was a little low for a game that, despite its rivalry nature, wasn't seen by most of the readers.
  4. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    Did you omit player and coach quotes due to deadline pressure? Or did you simply not include those quotes on this forum?

    Other than that, reading this little ditty made me realize that I really suck at this.
  5. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Simply didn't have enough time to get quotes after the game. As you can imagine, double OT added an extra 15-20 minutes to an already running long game. School site is 20 mins away from office, far away from any wireless access (wouldn't have mattered, since I had to lay out the jump page after I finished).
    We do a "football insider" every Saturday morning, interviewing every coach after they have watched film and started preparing for next week. I wrote a little longer on these two schools, making sure to get coaches' opinion on the game high.

    Other than that, thanks for the comments. Just curious Editude, where would you move up the score?
  6. i've always thought this usage of "see" is condescending to the reader
  7. zaphod

    zaphod New Member

    I didn't learn that the game went to 2 OT until the 12th graf. Too late.

    Trying to contrast the ordinariness of the individual play with the extraordinary circumstances is an understandable device. But it takes many grafs for the uniqueness of the situation to become clear to the reader. The story never demonstrates why there is a need to make the contrast. Rule of thumb: if you're going to create some kind of context around the top of the story, you need to tell readers why you're doing it. The better lede is at the bottom of the story: Rocky Mount had stopped the straight-up run all night, so when Southern Nash had to have a score, they went outside.

    Pet peeve: using present tense: "Two-point conversion successful. 21-20. Southern Nash beats Rocky Mount." It just grates on the ears. Announcers do this all the time ("if he eludes that tackle, he scores"), and it's annoying.

    Nice color in the middle of the story. Good observation.

    Watch the cliches. "wiry frame;" "to be named later;" "bruising fullback;" "momentous win;" "went for broke;" etc.

    . . . and the redundancy: "just a foot or two short on the distance."

    Remember it's just a game: "the cruel irony that is football;" "This night, this chilly mid-October Friday night. . ;" Let the story tell itself. Your voice will come through without having to ladle on the fancy language. Be yourself, especially when you have only 15 minutes to hit deadline.

    For a 15-minute story, this is a pretty decent effort. Next time, when you're similarly challenged, remember to keep it simple and direct. The fact that you have little time is an indicator that the game has a lot of natural drama. Two OTs and a last-second TD is all the ingredients you need for an exciting story.
  8. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Mentions double overtime in third graf.

    Agree with the overwritten comment, but nice effort on deadline, especially with layout duites hanging over your head. That brings back memories.
  9. zaphod

    zaphod New Member

    There it is. Third graf. Noted.
  10. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    Reminds of a double-overtime game I saw, might have been that same night. I think I had about the same amount of time to churn out the story. Nice effort, App.
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