Unreal. Simply unreal, mind blowing, and just about every other superlative known to mankind is what would describe the Ice Storm/Watertown game on Saturday night in Colchester.
This was a game for the ages. These are two teams who beat the snot out of each other, but have mutual respect as well. It was cold, it was raining, and the stands were packed. Trust me, if you weren't at that game, you missed one that I will be replaying in my mind for 20 years and then some. The Ice Storm came in at 14-0 on the year, and had defeated Watertown by only a point in their last meeting. The difference was a missed field goal as time expired and that was the closest the Ice Storm came to a blemish on their perfect season.
The game itself was a chess match from the beginning, and went back and forth and back and forth throughout. An Evan Hicks 38 yard field goal in the second was the only score of the first half as the teams slogged through the mud and muck. The fans were needless to say totally into the game as there were times I couldn't hear myself, or my play-by-play guy because of the insane amount of noise.
What the game boiled down to was one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen in any sport. In the fourth quarter, with the Ice Storm down 8-3, Ice Storm wideout Rob Joy took a NASTY hit. The hit was so bad, and his knee went in directions I didn't know possible that I thought he wouldn't walk again. The screams could literally be heard across the field, and no one thought Rob would ever play again. Well, Joy ended up coming off the field under his own power, but again, with the ambulance coming, we thought he was done. Well folks, he was far from being done.
The Ice Storm got the ball back with about four to play needing a TD to win. Quarterback Brad Ruderman, who had been off target all game long finally got hot. He found Austin Partain for a gain of 15, Zach Howe picked up another big gain, and then........Joy came back on the field, with everyone thinking "Huh????" and caught a pass for a huge first down with about two to go.
Fast forward to a fourth and one, 30 seconds to go, no Ice Storm time outs and make it or go home time. Rudy threaded the needle to the human highlight film known as Austin Partain on a play I still can't believe happened. Austin, with two men on him, and the ball behind him made a circus catch at the three, Rudy spiked the ball to kill the clock, and there was time for one, maybe two plays to go with ten seconds on the clock.
Then, the incredible happened. Rob Joy, the man who could barely walk, caught a three yard TD pass with 3.9 seconds to go in what proved to be the game winning TD. He had two guys just draped all over him, and somehow he managed to make the catch. Rob threw his helmet in celebration, he was mobbed, and Colchester High School was louder than I have ever heard it before. After the game, Coach Perez said that he had told Rob not to go back on the field because he wanted Joy to be able to walk sometime during the rest of his lifetime. Good thing Rob doesn't listen very well.......
The post game party at Franny's was beyond insane. Everyone went nuts when the trophy came in, and no one could stop talking about Rob's performance. One of the funny things was when the guys went up on stage to sing "We Are the Champions" and Russell Humphries literally dragged me up to sing with them. He told me that I was a part of the team, get my hands on the trophy and sing dammit!!! (Thankfully, no one could hear my horrible singing voice.)
Thanks guys. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this, and to become part of the Ice Storm family. As I kept saying over and over and over again, what a run. What a season, and what a group of guys. 15-0, EFL champions and you did it in style. Wow..........