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St. Nick's Outlaws

By Jim Colombo


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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo


Chapter 12


It was mid September and the beginning of soph-frosh football.  Most of the team


was returning. They were pretty good as freshmen and won six of eight games, but they


lost to Lincoln and St. Ignatius. Any lose was bad, but losing to S.I. was bitter. In time the


players would learn that losing was a motivator, an elusive quest for respect.  For now 


it was football season, the best time of the year. Zuppo, Gilmore, and Dominguez were


gone, but the rest of the outlaws were back: Jansen, Bautista, Augie, and a new kid,


Rensom. Chris Rensom had transferred from Santa Ana.  Southern California was a


different culture, a different world, home to Disneyland and movie stars. He took weight


training very seriously and could bench press 175 pounds. Chris instilled the value of


strength and conditioning. He told the team that the second and fourth quarters were theirs


to win. Coach Kepen had told the players about strength and endurance, but most of the


lads lacked motivation.  Chris was motivation.  He had it all, speed, balance, and vision.


The girls noticed "Mr. Muscles." They would approach him, start a conversation, and give


him their phone number.


Weight training became a religion for some of the lads. They pulled muscles that


they never knew existed. There is a feedback from the body to the mind when exercising.


Weight training seemed to align the body and the mind as one. The senses were sharper


because of increased oxygen and adrenaline. Jim’s reflexes were faster and he had new


confidence.  He seemed more in control of himself. Each day the soreness was accepted


and the tolerance of pain increased with the belief that more pain was more gain. The


muscles tear from strain, and as the tissue mends it increases in mass. After a good


workout, the team would jog the next day, allowing the body to heal. Not all of the players


had the same devotion to fitness. After a couple of days, and a few good muscle pulls, the


weaker ones dropped out. These were the same ones who dropped out when taking laps


or doing homework. Jim began to realize the correlation to effort and hard work. Anything


like weight training, school, or sports required effort and had its reward.  His grades and


his ability in sports improved, with increased effort.  It seemed that some of the guys were


on different levels. A few saw the next level and attained it. Others didn't know where they


were or how to get there.


The Green Bay Packers were being molded into a championship team by repetition


and effort. Coach Kepen was impressed with Vince Lombardi’s style. Any Marine


appreciated the discipline and work ethic the Packers displayed, so coach Kepen copied


the Packers. St. Nick’s ran most of the time.  An offensive lineman prefers to run block


compared to pass blocking. The running game wears down a defense physically and


mentally. A defensive lineman lives for the pass rush.  An offensive lineman gets beat-up


during the pass rush. Run blocking was fun.  Bautista’s favorite play was "63 blast on set."


He trotted up to the line of scrimmage and began to smile his "crocodile smile at


lunchtime." He was the left guard and Jim was the right guard, on either side of Jansen,


the center. Bautista was a little faster than Jim and was the weak side guard. The better


athletes played the positions that defended the quarterback’ s blind side or tried to cancel


a defensive team’s strong side. As the players became students of the game, they began


to appreciate the subtleties of the game, and  worked on technique and timing.  When


a running play clicked, it was a great feeling watching the halfback run to the goal line.


Rensom was a hell of a halfback. He would run over guys instead of evading them.  St.


Nick’s was establishing a punishing style of football.


St. Nick’s first game was against Balboa. They were an average team. St. Nick’s


beat Balboa 42 to 6. Rensom ran for 160 yards the first three quarters. Coach Kepen let


the second string play the fourth quarter. The next game was against Poly Technical.


They had a good running back who was Samoan, wide and strong. This was St. Nick’s first


test of character. The linemen played offense and defense. It was a test of endurance and


will. They would say that they ran to hell and back. At halftime Poly Tech was ahead 14-7.


Coach Kepen gave the team one of his inspiring halftime talks. The Poly running back was


pounding St. Nick’s.  They were starting to doubt themselves.


"LISTEN UP. They're beating you guys off the snap. They're not better than you.


They want this game more than you guys.  Last week was fun. You were the destroyer.


Today you're getting destroyed. It is a week to week challenge out there.  What you


achieved last week is history. Today is another test of what you’re made of. Each week


you have to strap it on and play flat out for 60 minutes. Anything less is a waste of your


time and mine. Remember that there are eleven of you out there. You’re a team. Don’t


think about how tired or hurt you are. Don’t let down the other ten. Each of you is part of an


equation for success. If each of you does your best, win or lose, you have nothing to be


ashamed of. You can’t win every game here or in life, but you can try your best. That’s all I


ask of each of you. You haven’t played your best. This is when you learn that it is not


strength, but will that separate the men from the boys. You guys are the Fighting Irish."


The team began chanting IRISH, IRISH.  They got a second wind. Suddenly the


sore leg or arm was better. On the first offensive play Augie called "63 blast on set." It was


a running play led by Bautista with Rensom following. The team ran up to the line of


scrimmage. Bautista was pumped with adrenaline and was breathing rapidly. Augie


walked up to Jensen for the snap.  He pointed at the defensive tackle in front of Bautista.


"We coming at you 77," and said set.


Bautista exploded off the line and wiped out two guys. Rensom ran for nine


yards. When Rensom came back to the huddle Augie slapped his helmet, and said,


"Way to go!"


Bautista, yelled, "Way to go, Daddy-o." and slapped Rensom shoulder pads.  The


next play Augie stepped up to the line and again pointed at the same defensive lineman in


front of Bautista .


"We’re coming at you the rest of the game, 77."


Bautista yelled, "Yeah!"


The team marched down the field repeating the "63 blast" and the "63 trap"


plays. Bautista was in Hamburger Heaven. St. Nick’s scored and tired the game. The


next time St. Nick’s had the ball Augie changed the calls with sweeps, running plays from


the left or right side that take longer to develop and are more punishing. St. Nick’s was


playing a game of attrition. It was tank warfare and coach Kepen loved it. They scored


again and took the lead.


Augie yelled, "It’s ours and we ain’t giving it back."


There were times when the players appreciated Augie's enthusiasm and there


were times they didn’t.  Augie assumed that the team would follow him into Hell and


battle. The players gave Augie a lot of latitude as a leader. St. Nick’s won 28-14.  At the


end of the game Augie thanked each player for his effort. He put his arm around Rensom’s


shoulder and proclaimed, "From this day on you shall be Daddy-o." Augie gave each


player he liked a nickname. Jim’s nickname was Indian, because his face got so red when


playing. Garcia gave Augie the nickname of the magic man, because he could always


pull a rabbit out of a hat on third down. Coach Kepen was impressed. They had come back


as a team. The threshold for pain and endurance expanded on a higher level now with


many to conquer. The players believed in Augie and Coach Kepen.


There was a movie, Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas as a gladiator. Jim thought


they were gladiators fighting for survival each week.  He enjoyed watching Rensom run.  If


he could be a running back, that would be great. For now being a guard was fine, but he


wanted  more. He was realistic and set his sights on fullback for next year. That was the


next level of competition.


Garcia was the starting fullback. He was distracted by his girlfriend, and started


smoking to look cool.  His intensity, time in the weight room, and not hitting the hole with


drive, were missing. Coach Kepen spoke to Garcia about the possibility that someone else


might be the starting fullback thinking this might motivate Garcia, but he slipped further into


complacency. The fourth game was against Mission and Garcia was benched. Desmond


became the starting fullback. He did not have the speed or size of Garcia.  He tried


hard, but he didn’t have quick feet to make adjustments to the flow. Rensom ran for 96


yard against Mission.  St. Nick’s barely won the game 14-7, but there was that doubt


again, like the second quarter when the team played Poly. St. Nick’s didn’t feel like


celebrating. A piece of the equation was missing and every player knew it.


The following week the team thought they would see Garcia in the weight room


trying to get his position back, but he didn't show up. Garcia and Augie had a talk after


school at the park two blocks from school. All fights, smoking, and girl watching were done


at the park. Word spread fast. Augie and Garcia were going to fall out. Augie had "called


him down." The team thought they would fight. Augie and Garcia sat on a bench for about


twenty minutes and talked.  Nobody knew what was said.  The next day Garcia turned in


his uniform and game book. All of the players wondered what was said.  Finally, Brincat


asked Augie after showers. Augie told Brincat that a priest and a quarterback couldn’t


divulge any conversations.  It wasn’t any of his business.


Garcia had a cute Portuguese’s girl friend.  Her father thought that Garcia wanted


his daughter for a good time. His daughter was too innocent and he didn’t want her dating


a Mexican. The Portuguese girl and Garcia really thought it was love. The girl obeyed her


father and broke up with Garcia. It bothered Garcia for a long time.


The next week they played Galileo.   Rensom ran for 68 yards. St. Nick’s won 14-


13. Galileo missed the point after their first touchdown. The tough games were ahead: S.I.,


Washington, and Lincoln. The team needed a spark. The following Monday Garcia walked


into the locker room with his uniform and play book. Coach Kepen followed Garcia into


the locker room, and asked if any one had a problem with Garcia coming back.


"Hell No, "said Augie and looked around the room.


No one said a word. Garcia was the spark. The equation was complete. The


practices were livelier. The hitting was more intense between the offense and defense.


The linemen had to make a seam faster, because Garcia was there to seal the block.  The


blocking was precise.  The team had that rhythm again. Washington was the next game


and St. Nick’s was eager to kick ass.  Garcia had a fire in his belly and it spread to the rest


of his teammates. Jim could feel the rage he had last year. St. Nick’s won the game in


the fourth quarter. Jensen hit the quarterback from the blind side on a blitz.  The


quarterback fumble,  Rios picked up the ball, and ran twenty-five yards for a


touchdown. It was a win 7-0, but not the way the team planned. Coach Kepen said, 


“Today Washington lost the game.  It’s a win, but it don’t feel like one.”


 The team had to learn to accept fate, and move on to the next game or task in life.


The next task was S.I., then Lincoln.


The following week was War Week.  The players could taste the "cherries from S.I."


Tom Portello was an all-city tackle, and was the fastest big man Jim had seen.  Varsity


players would visit the junior varsity and soph/frosh teams to wish them good luck when


playing S.I. Tom was legendary as an athlete. He was hit in the mouth once and ran to the


sidelines.  He got pair of pliers, removed the loose tooth, ran back on the field, and spat


blood in the face of the linebacker who had knocked out his tooth.


"Listen up! This is War Week.  You don’t know the frustration of losing three years 


to S I.  I wish you good luck. Have a good game," said Tom.


The team wished the varsity good luck.


Tom began to sing the war week song.  The team followed.  "I’m an Irishman, I’m


an Irishman, I’m an Irishman ‘till I die. And I’d rather be an Irishman, than a CHERRIE


FROM S.I. Yeah!!!"


St. Nick’s was never respected like the Wildcats from S.I. They were the elite


Jesuit High School in San Francisco.  Many years ago they were college prep bookworms.


These cherries had beat St. Nick’s the last seven times they played. St. Nick’s tried to


attain the stature of a college prep high school. St. Nick’s would beat S. I. most of the time


in basketball or baseball, but football was S.I.’s game. Some of the linemen from S. I.


spent the summer in Oregon at a lumber mill and  came back as studs, 6’2" to 6’4,"


weighing 230-260.   They were smarter and focused on college. The guys at St. Nick’s


were focused on the short term, Friday’s game. Their world was much smaller than the


guys from S. I. The guys at St. Nick’s didn’t take themselves as seriously. They didn’t have


the fast lane to college. The guys from S. I. had money and intelligence. Most of the


families who sons went to St. Nick’s could barely afford to pay for tuition and books. The


guys from S. I. had a ticket to college. The guys at St. Nick’s had hope that they might get


an athletic scholarship. The guys at St. Nick’s were envious of S. I. and had to work on


weekends for extra money. The guys from S. I. bought their clothes at Bruce Berry or


Patrick James. The guys at St. Nick’s bought their clothes at the National Dollar store or


Sears.   Those Cherries never knew how much they motivated the guys at St. Nick’s. It


wasn’t cherries that the Irish craved. It was a hunger to become as good and get respect




Friday, two o’clock, and it was silent in the training room. The linemen tapped pairs


of fingers together to prevent dislocated or broken fingers. The trainer tapped the player’s


ankles for support. Each player shaved the hair from their ankles eight inches up their legs


because the adhesive from the tape would stick to the hair. It was easy to spot a jock on


the beach.  He was the guy with shaved ankles. The players wore their pants, cleats, and


their St. Nick’s sweatshirts with "Outlaws" on the back. Their shoulder pads and helmet


were inside their jersey.   When they arrived at the game they inserted thigh pads, hip


pads and a cup for their number ten. For some unknown reason jock straps came in a box


marked "number 10 bike." There were no sizes six, eight or twelve. Only a rookie would


attempt riding in a bus with a cup on. One good bounce and he would have to join the


chess team.


The players walked onto the field in full gear and the routine began. The


linebackers, the offensive and defensive backs, and the receivers ran laps.  The defensive


linemen lined up against the offensive linemen and took snaps, simulating plays. This


sharpened their reflexes and got the adrenaline going. Every play depended on timing and


speed, all beginning in unison, arriving at a location at the precise time, each fulfilling his


assignment.  Coach Kepen called it "the sum of all." Each player was part of the equation.


Augie was busy admiring the other teams cheerleaders. After ten minutes of jogging the


players spent time doing stretching exercises. Finally the team huddled around Coach


Kepen and prayed with Coach Kepen that God would give them the strength to kick S.I.’s 


ass.  Coach invoked his big game prayer telling them that they were on a crusade to


redeem all those fallen warriors who had lost to the cherries the past seven years. The


prayer ended with, " All I ask is that you give your best effort. Forget self and remember


the other ten, the sum of all." The players called it the "Blessing of the Warriors." The battle




St. Nick’s won the coin toss and chose to receive. Coach Kepen told Augie to run


sweeps to get a rhythm and confidence. The first play Augie called was a sweep, Sarah


(strong side), on set. The ball was snapped and nine members of the team, the S I.


defense, and Coach Kepen thought that it was a sweep to the left side. The ball was


snapped and the players moved to the left side of the field. Rensom gave a great fake,


and before the defense caught on Augie was running with the ball by himself down the


right side of the field for a touchdown. Augie ran to Coach Kepen and shook his hand.


"Great call, Coach." The coach just shook his head and was glad Augie was on his side.


Augie wasn’t the fastest, strongest or smartest, but he know how to get the job done,


whether it was life, school, or sports.


St. Nick’s kicked off and held S.I. to three yards and a cloud of dust.  S.I. had to


punt.   Augie took his time going to the huddle. He knew that the defensive linemen were


pissed off.  He put his hands under Jensen ass, and yelled, "Set.  Three, fifty-three,




The defensive captain for the Wildcats yelled, " Red Dog! Red Dog! All Dogs!"


The ball snapped, the offensive linemen took a step back, and began to pass block.  


Augie faded back. Rensom and Garcia set to pass block. The defensive linemen began


a bull rush with the three linebackers charging in the gaps. The receivers ran their patterns


and the tight end stayed to block. As Augie passed Rensom, he gave Rensom the ball.


Rensom began to run and the offensive linemen tried to spread the defense to open the


middle. Rensom got to the line of scrimmage and passed the charging defensive linemen 


who were intent on getting Augie. Rensom ran for six yards before the free safety and the


corner back tackled him. The defensive linemen continued to pursue Augie. Woods,


number 72, caught him and tackled him waist high, driving him into the ground.


"I got you, punk!  You're mine," Woods yelled.


"Next time try and get the guy with the ball, " said Augie.


Woods turned and saw the ball on the twenty-nine yard line. "You're toast, asshole." 


Augie got up, brushed aside Woods, and smiled. Woods was beyond pissed. The


stage was set for a typical battle between St. Nick’s and S. I. The next play Augie called a


sweep to Woods side. The tight end came in motion, running from the far side to the side


Woods lined up. When the ball was snapped, the tight end was in full stride when he


cracked back and leveled Woods with a vicious knee-high block. Woods bent in half


sideways and crumbled to the ground. Rensom followed Garcia and ran for ten yards.


Woods was in pain and looked perplexed. He was grabbing his left knee and trying to


get up. Woods took one step and fell. Teague was the first one to help.


"Give it up, man. Lay still. I’m real sorry," said Teague.


Two linemen from Saint Ignatius helped Woods limp off the field. His left knee


had a bad sprain, nothing was broken, but he was out of the game.  He was their best


defensive lineman. Losing him weakened their pass rush and made the left side inviting to


run against. As the team ran up to the line of scrimmage, Jim looked to see how Woods


was doing. Jim respected Woods as a player. At the end of last year's game Woods


complemented Jim and others for playing a good game. Woods seemed to mean it, and


Jim was looking forward to playing against him. Woods sat on the bench grimacing with


pain as the trainer tried to examine his knee. St. Nick’s ran up the middle for seven yards.


The S.I. defense didn’t have the same intensity without Woods. The S.I. trainer put a bag


of ice on Woods’ knee and taped it to reduce the swelling. He yelled in pain and swore


while sitting on the bench in misery. 


St. Nick’s continued to run up the middle and eventually scored a touchdown.  They


kicked the extra point. The first quarter ended 14-0. The players should have been happy,


but they remembered last year when they were ahead 14-0 going into the fourth quarter.


S. I. roared back with twenty-one points in ten minutes and won the game last year. The


second quarter began and St. Nick’s methodically marched down the field running the ball


with sweeps and screens. They were on the S.I. three-yard line.  Augie gave the ball to


Garcia on a quick dive up the middle. Garcia fumbled the hand off.  Augie and two linemen


from S.I. ran after the ball bouncing in slow motion. Augie fell on the ball and it squirted


out. The defensive end for S.I. fell alongside the ball and cradled it in his arms.  This drove


Coach Kepen nuts, because the team spent time at each practice recovering loose balls


by falling alongside and scooping the ball. When you fall on it, most of the time it squirts




"God damn it! Augie," yelled coach Kepen.


Augie slammed his helmet on the ground. Coach Kepen got involved with defense


and started to yell encouragement to them. The offensive linemen stayed on the field and


now played defense. They were tired and disappointed that they had not score. When


there is a fumble or interception the defensive team is stunned because of the offensive


error. There is a swing of emotion and a loss of concentration. Coach Kepen was trying to


remind his players what the situation was and that they had to focus. The Saint Ignatius


quarterback took the snap, drifted back, and threw the ball as far as he could. Percy was


the defensive back, and got his feet tangled with the receiver as the ball dropped down


from an arcing pass into the receiver's arms.  Percy tumbled to he ground, while the


receiver ran into the end zone. Touchdown. S.I. kicked the extra point and the score was


14-7. Augie took it personally that he allowed S.I. to score.


St. Nick’s was on offense. The offensive line was leaning forward, ready to run


block.  Augie wanted to atone for his sin and changed the play at the line and called, 


"Red, 87, 22 set. " Red was a pass, and any number beginning with eight was a play for


the wide receiver.  A fly pattern was any number in the twenties.  As they started to lean


back to get ready to pass block, the ball was snapped, and the offensive line wasn’t set to


block. The defensive tackles ran a stunt from the inside out. The two defensive ends


looped inside where the tackle had vacated.  The offensive line was trying to establish


position. Augie rolled out to the right and looked for the wide receiver down the right side of


the field.  The defensive tackle was pursuing Augie as Augie began his motion to throw the


ball. The defensive lineman’s hand knocked the ball out of Augie’s hand and it bounced


behind them.  Augie and the defensive tackle ran to the ball.  The defensive tackle tried to


scoop the ball but it squirted out of his hands, and bounced into the arms of .the defensive


back, who in full stride caught the ball. The defensive back ran fourteen yards for the


score. In less than two minutes S. I. had tied the score.  What could have been 21-0


was 14-14. 


Coach Kepen understood what Augie was trying to do and didn’t yell at him.  He


waited for Augie to approach him and told him to settle down and go back to the running




When St. Nick’s was on offense again, they ran the ball three to five yards at a time,


and had the ball for almost ten minutes. It was first down and goal to go on the nine yard-


line. After three runs they were on the four-yard line. Augie looked at Coach and motioned


to go for the touchdown instead of kicking a field goal. Coach Kepen yelled, "Go for it."


Augie called a sweep to the left side. It had worked before because Woods was out of the


game. The play began and Jensen was pushed back by a bull rush by the defensive


tackle, who had guessed when the ball would snap. Jensen collided with Bautista who was


running behind Jensen to the other side to help Jim seal the block for Rensom running in


between them. They tripped over one another.  Rensom was tackled on the three-yard


line and St. Nick’s failed to score.  They had the ball for over ten minutes and walked off


the field disgusted.  They were revisiting the horror of last year’s game. Everything was


dissolving into quicksand. The first half had ended and St. Nick’s regrouped to get ready


for the second half. If the opposing team executes and scores St. Nick’s could except fate


rather than giving them 14 points in error. S. I. didn’t lose by errors. They won by




St. Nick’s sat in the locker room waiting for Coach to yell and scream, but instead


he asked a question.  "What was the difference between the first quarter and the second


quarter? What happened?"


The team sat in silence with their heads down. Coach Kepen then explained that


the team had one bad break when Garcia fumbled, but that was part of the game. When


Augie called the pass play instead of the run, he gambled and accepted the risk. S. I.


was patient enough to wait until St. Nick made a mistake and loss the game. Coach Kepen


reminded the team that S. I. didn’t defeat them last year, they had lost control and lost the




"Don't put yourself in risk. Just stay with the game plan. This is a game of attrition


and field position. Forget the second quarter and concentrate on the positive things


accomplished in the first quarter. Augie, you left Woods in flames on the first play.


Concentrate on the positive. Stand up, heads up, now who are we?"


The team yelled, "Irish. The Fighting Irish."


All of the players respected Coach Kepen, because he was a good teacher of the


game and a great motivator. The second half began. St. Nick’s held S.I. to three offensive


plays and they had to punt. Augie ran out on the field and called, "Flood right, Wanda, on


two." Sweeps were run to the strong side, Sarah, or to the weak side, Wanda. Flood right


meant the three receivers would line up on the right side. Rensom ran for six yards. Garcia


was a good blocker on sweeps.  Methodically, St. Nick’s moved down the field. They


scored after twelve plays and having the ball for almost ten minutes.  It was tank warfare,


no prisoners, 21-14, and the team’s confidence was back. Augie was pumped up. His eyes


were as big as silver dollars.


The ebb and flow was a defensive battle. It was like a sword fight, where each move


was blocked, waiting for the other to err, and touché.  Anxiety mounted as the game


continued.  Each play was critical. Each first down was new life.  Both teams move back


and forth in between the twenty-yard lines like a tug of war, never penetrating inside the


twenty-yard line to the goal line.  In the forth quarter, St. Nick’s was on the eleven-yard


line, first and ten. They ran twice with no gain. On third down they tried a pass and Augie


overthrew the ball, while being chased by defensive linemen. Fourth down and St. Nick’s


could try to score a touch down or kick a field goal for three points.


The probability of kicking a field was greater than scoring a touchdown. The ball


was snapped. The holder caught the ball, placed it point down on the grass with a slight


angle, and turned the ball with the laces facing away from the kicker. The kicker


approached the ball and swung his leg to kick. The offensive line was blocking the


defensive linemen for the kicker. The ball left the holders hand and veered to the right side


of the goal post, hitting the post, and it bounced to the sided. St. Nick’s failed.  S. I. had


dodged a bullet and had new life. S.I. marched down the field and scored on a pass to


the flanker. It was 21-21. St. Nick’s was stunned.


Augie tried to jump-start the players but they didn’t respond. On fourth down St.


Nick’s punted. With six minutes left in the game S.I. took over on offense on their twenty-


yard line. S.I. proceeded to march down the field and with one minute, fifty seconds left in


the game they kicked a field goal. It was 24-21 with a minute left in the game. S.I. kicked


off to St. Nick’s. Rensom caught the ball and ran up the middle of the field. His blockers


formed a wedge to help block. Rensom hit the wedge the same time the blockers and the


wave of tacklers collided. Suddenly the middle opened and it looked like Rensom could run


for a touchdown. He crossed the fifty-yard line and had to beat one player, the S. I. kicker.


Typically the kicker is the poorest tackler. Rensom faked right and continued to run straight


up the field. The kicker for S.I. froze and stood his ground, instead of taking the fake to the


right. Rensom ran into him and lost his balance. The kicker held on to Rensom who was


trying to regain his balance with one hand while holding the ball with the other hand like a


loaf of bread away from his body.  A defensive player hit Rensom with a flying body tackle


and knocked the ball loose. Rensom fell alongside of the ball and recovered it. Twenty-


seven seconds left, St. Nick’s ball on their forty-five yard line. Too far to run so they would


have to pass the ball. Seventy-two razor on set, a pass to Rico who lined up in the slot as


the flanker. Rico ran straight down to the goal line with everyone blocking. Augie went


back seven yards and threw the ball as far as he could hoping Rico would catch it. The ball


wobbled and hung in the air. Rico was running to the endzone, trying to get there first, and


didn’t notice the flight of the ball. The defensive back noticed the flight of the ball, and was


in position to catch it. Interception !   All of St. Nick’s hopes vanished in a split second. 


There was silence for a moment, then jubilation across the field. The Wildcats had won


again. The St. Nick’s players stood on the field in disbelief.


That was the longest ride back to the gym. There was dead silence.  No one said a


word after showers. Each player disappeared into his own corner of hell.  The following


week St. Nick’s beat Lincoln. The bitter taste of losing to Saint Ignatius canceled the joy of


the victory. Augie described it best.  It was like kissing your sister. At the end of the season


Saint Ignatius and St. Nick’s were 7-1, but because S.I. had beaten St. Nick’s, they won


the title.








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