Clear Eyes Full Heart

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Chapter 13

" I’ve already told you everything I know. I walked to the car after my game to find it like that.” Drake told the police officer an hour after the discovery of his damaged car. The cop looked down at his notes,” and you think it may be someone from Snake Canyon?” ” I don’t know a singular person with those initials, and we are playing them in the next round. Not to mention me and Snake Canyon don’t exactly get along.” The cop nodded and looked over his notes again, ” alright, we’ll conduct an investigation, let you know what we find.” ” Thank you, sir,” Drake said shaking the officer’s hand and leaving the police station where Katrina was waiting.

Drake and the rest of the Panthers walked to the practice field Monday to see it was destroyed. ” Those SOB’s!” Drake muttered. The rest of the team shared Drake’s anger as Coach Bud looked around before looking at his team. ” Gentlemen, I know you’re angry; I’m angry too. Snake Canyon just doesn’t seem to want to play fair no matter how many times we beat them. We’re going to practice on our game turf. Drake, I want to talk to you.” Drake nodded and followed Coach Bud away from the others,” Drake; I’ve got bad news. We’re getting the same refs as last time. And you know they do not like you. I want to focus out there Friday Night, do not buy into it. I want you to focus on continuing to lead this team. You’ve been doing well so far. Keep it up.” ” Yes, sir.”

When Drake got home, he found Katrina sitting on the couch, rifle pointed at the door, dogs on high alert. ” What’s... going on?” he asked as the dogs dropped their guard and ran to him, whimpering for attention. As Drake was petting him, Katrina put the rifle away and tried to smile, but Drake could tell something had happened. ” What’s going on?” Katrina sighed ” some guys from Snake Canyon came over and accosted me in the driveway. They left when I threatened to call the cops.” Drake gritted his teeth ” that’s it. They crossed the line. They come back here; I’m putting a bullet hole in them.” Katrina shook her head and grabbed his hand before he could walk away to get his gun” that’s what they want; they want you to do something stupid. Just kick their asses this Friday.” ” Oh I will,” Drake said after taking a deep breath to calm down ” This is no longer business. They made this personal. This Friday night, I am going to make them my bitch.”

Drake’s week only got worse from there. He received threatening phone calls, threatening emails, threatening text messages. Drake felt like he was walking on eggshells the whole week. To make matters worse, the appeal Coach Bud made for different referees had been denied by the Athletic Administration. Each day Drake felt like he had ants running down his shirt, wishing Friday Night would hurry up. Friday felt like each second was another day. Finally, it was time to get on the bus. As the Panthers went to Snake Canyon the butterflies in Drake’s stomach were having a full-on rave. The atmosphere in the locker room was dense with tension. Due to concerns Coach Bud had voiced, armed security was waiting to escort the team to the field.

Coach Bud looked at his team ” gentlemen; I don’t need to say anything other than this. I am sick and tired of these punks thinking they’re better than us! They aren’t any good, the only reason they are even here is because of cheap tricks and bullshit! So get out there and kick their asses!” ” Yes, sir!” ” Lead us out Drake.” Drake hopped to his feet, anxious to get on the field “It’s go time!” The rest of the team roared and got on their feet ” They done messed up! They done messed up! It’s time we end this little feud once and for all! We are going to make these fools wish they had never been born! Let’s go kick their asses!” The Panthers were escorted to the field being hammered with boos. ” Ladies and gentlemen welcome to this second-round playoff game between the Snake Canyon Outlaws and the reigning Easthaven Correctional Panthers! These two teams don’t like each other. These two teams are anxious to tear into each other, and I’m eager to watch. Can’t get along; let’s get it on!”

The white and red Panthers kicked off to the orange and black Outlaws and as expected plenty of dirty blocks were laid on the Panthers who remained oblivious. As a result, the Outlaws returned the kick-off for a touchdown. After the extra point, the score became 7-0. The Outlaws kicked off to the Panthers who returned the kick-off to the twenty-eight. Drake got the play from Coach Bud and ran to join the huddle ignoring the jeers from the Outlaw fans. ” Let’s shut these boys up right now. I-Right 26 Power on two, ready?” ” Break!” The Panthers lined up in the I-Formation ” Down! Red 32! Red 32! Set Go Go!” ” Drake takes the snap and hands off to King who goes up the line, he sheds a tackle, spins out of the way, and he will not be brought down! King is gonna rumble for twenty-six yards but wait there’s a flag on the play.”

As expected the referee called an unjust holding penalty on the Panthers, forcing them to back up to the eight-teen yard-line. The Panthers kept their cool and just got back in the huddle ” we know these guys don’t like us, Forget them. Triple Reverse on one, ready?” ” Break!” The Panthers lined up in the Shotgun formation. ” Down! Blue 56! Blue 56! Set Go!” ” Drake takes the snap and pitches it to Samson, who hands it off to King who hands it off to James Furgeson! And the Outlaw defense is all out of sorts! James is heading up the left side, and he’s got some daylight, they’re not going to catch him! Touchdown Panthers but wait there’s another flag.” The referee flashed Coach Bud an arrogant smirk before calling a facemask on the Panthers which backed them up on their three-yard-line which caused Coach Bud to go crazy.

" Inside Curve on one, ready?” ” Break!” The Panthers lined up in the T-Formation. ” Down! White 88! White 88! Set Go!” As Drake was dropping back, he saw an Outlaw Defensive linemen had thrown grass in an Offensive linemen’s face. ” Drake is in trouble, he lets go of the ball, and he is hit hard!” The Outlaw defender shoved James out of the way and picked the ball off and ran it into the endzone. ” Well I counted a couple of penalties on that one, but the referees are saying touchdown. And it’s clear the referees are going to favor Snake Canyon tonight.” Coach Bud was livid at this point and was yelling at the referees ” what do I have to do to get a damn call around here?!” ” Oh, you want a call coach?” ” Yeah, I want a call!” ” Fine!” the referee said, throwing the flag and ejecting Coach Bud.

The crowd booed as Coach Bud stormed off the field. The Panthers got the kick-off and returned it to the thirty-three. When Drake looked for the signals, he noticed the rest of the coaching staff didn’t know what to do. ” Screw it,” Drake said joining the huddle ” 35 Dot on three, ready?” ” Break!” The Panthers lined up in the Singleback Formation ” Down! Gold 12! Gold 12! Set GoGoGo!” ” Drakes takes the snap and hands off to King who hits the gap, he spins out of the way, jukes a defender and he has some daylight. He is going to go all the way, Touchdown Panthers!” The Panther sideline exploded in cheers. Drake thought the referees would call it back, but they decided to let it go. However, the extra point missed making the score 14-6 Snake Canyon. The Outlaws completed a field goal to make the score 17-6 at the end of the half.

The Panthers went to their locker room, no one sure what to do. After a moment Drake stood up ” they think they have won. They think they have won. But I tell you boys what. They don’t know what is coming their way. For this next half, I’ll call the plays in the huddle. These idiots are going to pay for every little thing they’ve done plus interest. Let’s kick their asses. Panther Pride on 3. 1 2 3!” ” Panther Pride!” The Panthers ran back on the field and received the kick-off which King returned to the forty-five. ” We’ve got Halfback Middle on one” Drake told his offense at the sideline before they ran to the field and got in the Shotgun Formation. ” Down! Blue 41! Blue 41! Set Go!” ” Drake takes the snap and hands off to King who is going to run up the middle and he is going to put up some amazing blocking! He breaks free, and he has nothing but green grass ahead of him! And he is going to score! Touchdown Panthers!” ” Put up or shut up baby! Put up or shut up!” King yelled at the Outlaws as he ran back to his team.

With the extra point, the score became 17-13 Snake Canyon. The Panthers went to kick-off and recovered the Onside kick. ” Tight End Swing Screen on three,” Drake told his offense before they jogged on the field and lined up in the Pro Set Formation. ” Down! Black 9! Black! Set GoGoGo!” ” Drake takes the snap and drops back to pass. His blocking breaks down, and Drake is in trouble. He throws in time, but he is going to get nailed! Victor comes up with it, and I’ll be darned ladies and gentlemen! Victor has every member of the Panthers blocking for him! What an inspired call! Victor isn’t going to be touched. Touchdown Panthers!” The Panthers kicked the extra point to make the score 20-17 where it remained for the rest of the third quarter.

" We are midway through the fourth quarter still 20-17 Panthers. Second and Eight Outlaw ball at their thirty-eight. Chris Manson takes the snap and drops back to pass.” Drake was covering the Outlaw Wide Out pretty well until the Outlaw purposely tripped him up, but of course, there was no call. ” And Graves comes up with it! And he is going to go all the way, Touchdown Outlaws!” With the extra point, the score was 20-24 Outlaws. They kicked off which James fielded at the ten yard-line and was brought down at the thirty-seven. “Fullback Shuffle on one” Drake called at the sideline. The Panthers hurried on the field with only five minutes left in the game. ” Down! White 64! White 64! Set Go!” ” Drake takes the snap and pitches it to Samson. He heads up the middle, and he is going to tear through the Outlaw defense. They are not going to touch him, Touchdown Panthers!” With 3:42 left in the game the score became 27-24 Panthers.

They kicked off to the Outlaws who made it to the twenty-six. ” Chris takes the snap and drops back to pass. He throws...” Drake noticed the ball was underthrown. He ran and intercepted the ball, taking pleasure in the fact he was right next to the Outlaw sideline. ” No! No!” Drake heard the coach yell as Drake ran down the sideline. One moment Drake had nothing but an open field, next minute he was lying on his back, having blindsided by the Snake Canyon coach who was livid. Drake got to his feet to see police officers restraining the coach who was shouting at the top of his lungs at Drake who could only make out ” Suck my balls! Suck my balls! Suck my balls asshole!” accompanied with an abundance of middle fingers. Both crowds were in an uproar as the announcer was trying to calm everyone down. ” Ladies and gentlemen, truly a disappointing way to end this ball game but due to the interference the game will be rewarded to Easthaven Correctional.”

The Panthers did not get to change before they were ushered away from Snake Canyon by a police escort. Drake’s teammates mockingly echoed the Snake Canyon’s head coach’s words to him. Drake was upset the game ended like that, but on the plus side, the Panthers were off to the Quarterfinals. When Drake stepped off the bus, he was greeted by a police officer who pulled him to the side ” Mister Solace; we know who damaged your car. It just so happens he’s the one who blindsided you tonight.” ” The coach?” Drake asked not able to believe it. ” Yes, sir. We would like to know if you want to press charges.” Drake took a minute to consider than nodded ” Yes sir.”

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