Saturday, November 14, 2009

Naselle Seniors' Football Careers Come to an End

Football is a great game, but I think that the friendships are what really set it apart from other sports. I have known QB/DB Austin Burkhalter, RB/CB Logan Scrabeck, RB/DL Nathan Carlson, and OL/DL Manny Lopez since Kindergarten. Back then we built Legos, laughed over everything, and played football at recess. As time progressed, new friends joined the gang: WR John Hines, WR/CB Jesus Martinez,WR/DB Cody Larson, TE/DE Marcos Herrera, and FB/DL Carson Cooper. And now it has finally caught up with us. The final buzzer has sounded. The last 12 veers, 22 isos, 43 whams have been run. But what great times there were. Football was the best of times for friendship and camaraderie . Eleven best friends all fighting, all clawing, and all struggling for that extra yard or big tackle. Everyone trusting in himself, the man next to him, and in the coaches. And that's what I am going to miss the most, the camaraderie that was built, not over a single season or even since middle school football, but since Kindergarten with Mrs. Swanson, basketball in second grade with Mr. Revis, birthday parties, helping out at the Burkhalter's dairy, and countless other things. I never expected my career under the Friday night lights to end the way it did, but I have had so much fun playing Comet football its ridiculous really.

The 42-8 loss to Tacoma Baptist was a disappointment for sure. We wanted to keep going, to live another day, and to fight another fight. But on Friday night the Crusaders were the better team. I made my share of freshman mistakes, and as a team we had seven penalties. It was definitely not our best showing, but there were some great moments in the game for sure. Down 14-0 at half, we came out of the locker room with a head full of steam and pounded our way to paydirt, good ol' Naselle style, and after the first drive TB had our defense really stiffened in the first half. I don't question the effort of any of the guys. We all gave it our all Friday night. We left a bit of us on the field. Even though we ended the season in disappointment, us seniors really had great Comet careers. Over four years we had a 31-14 (.688) record, and made the playoffs three years in a row. We can look back and say that we were able to make school shitory, compete on the T-dome turf, upset Valley in the quarters, and go 9-1 in our senior regular season (the most regular season wins in Coach Eaton's coaching career). Naselle is, in part because of us, back on the football radar once again, and I don't think Naselle will be off for some time.

At the meeting at center field, I called the coin flip and won. We differed to the second half. WE nearly came up with a fumble on the opening kickoff. But Tacoma recovered and scored on the
drive. Their all-shotgun offense with multiple fakes and their quick passes wove through our defense. We have been notoriously known to give up a quick score to the opposition; It was a matter of time before it caught up with us. However, after their first score, we really tightened up the run defense and forced them to punt several times. We, however were unable to get much going on offense in the first half. Late in the second quarter, the Crusaders took the ball. Pressured for time they went to the air. With twenty seconds remaining in the first half, Tacoma's QB lofted the pigskin into the air. While on its journey through the atmosphere, time seemed to slow. The ball went right through Austin's hands and into the arms of a Crusader for a touchdown. And so we walked to the locker rooms, a little shocked, down 14-0. I was trying to get the boys to believe that we could do it. I knew we could, I think the others did too.
We received the kickoff and went down to what ended up being our only score. I ran in the touchdown from four yards out and Logan scampered to the side for a successful two-point conversion. At this point we had them on their heels. But a big play on third and seven, shifted momentum in their favor. They never looked back. Despite the 42-8 score, the game should have been closer. They scored on a short field due to a lost fumble at least twice. I have to give credit to Tacoma. Their offensive and defensive lines really won the battle in the trenches and gave our sophomore-dominated line a rough time when they would shift a split second before center Nick Zimmerman snapped the ball. They are a good team. I wish, however banal it sounds, that we could have it back.

If you were on the side-lines at the end of the game, you would've seen how much we had put into this team. Almost everyone was in tears before the game even ended. Heck, writing this brings me to tears. We are going to miss every aspect of Friday night under the lights. The community support was amazing through the whole game. Standing on the side, down 42-8, I could hear the ancient "Comet Power" chant and that really hit me. Thanks for your support these four years. It was a great run.

I would like to thank my very supportive and loving parents, Wayne and Becky Erickson. They have come to nearly every one of my games, if not every one. My dad has inspired me since I was a little boy playing in the front yard. His football teams were great! I want to thank my brother Nathan for coming to my games and supporting me this year. We really had some good football talks after the games. Ryan, thanks for coming to my games. Evan, thanks for being supportive and for pushing me. I wish we would have watched film more often. I love you all.
I need to thank my Savior Jesus Christ. He is always there, within me. He fights with me, comforts me, and gives me the strength to do all things. After the game, I thought of one of my favorite verses, Proverb 3:5-6. It reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lead not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths." I am comforted knowing that I am part of God's bigger picture that can't fully see. Knowing this makes closing this chapter of my life easier. To God be the Glory... win or lose.

Alan "the Diesel" Erickson #35
NHS Fullback and Inside Linebacker


Anonymous said...

You guys had a great season. Just as you said, you will have a lot to look back on and be proud of. You are a great leader to the team and it was great to have been able to play with all of you in my last years.

- Marcus Sanchez

Anonymous said...

Great article by a great guy. I loved playing against you and wish we could have had a rematch this weekend in the quarters. As it is we will have to go out and beat TBS for you guys. Good luck playing basketball.

Will Rockett #75 WV