When people ask me what my favorite football team is, it’s the same routine every time.
I put my hands in my pockets, look down at the ground, and mumble, “the Cowboys.”
It’s not out of shame. It’s knowing what’s about to come out of the other person’s mouth. The Tony Romo fumble against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007, the constant choking comments, and just the general shtick one gets from supporting “America’s team.”
This past weekend I had to go through the agony twice. I saw a Dallas Cowboys-like performance from the Citrus College football team.
In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a Cowboys-like performance in the flesh. It’s happened all throughout the season.
The Cowboys, I mean Owls, have lost two final minute leads in dramatic fashion this season, just like their NFL counterpart.
The 51-50 loss at Riverside on Oct. 26, oddly resembled the 31-30 loss the Cowboys suffered against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 27.
While watching the Cowboys drive down the field to set up a field goal to make it 30-24, I got up from the couch and let go my usual victory fist pump, knowing that they pulled it off.
I thought, hey— one minute left, 80 yards and up by six points, this game is done.
That is going to be the last time I walk away from the TV with time still on the clock.
Enter Lions wide receiver, Calvin Johnson.
Johnson played the best game of his already illustrious career, racking up a total of 329 yards and one touchdown. For some reason I had the confidence in the Cowboys defensive backs to stop Matt Stafford and the best receiver in the game from reaching the end zone one last time.
Needless to say, they went 80 yards in under a minute and I came back to the TV shocked, but not surprised— this is what I have become used to seeing.
Flash back to the Riverside game at Wheelok Stadium, the day before.
The Owls have the ball in the final minutes and score a touchdown with 1:03 left to go in the game to put them up 50-44 against perennial powerhouse the Riverside Tigers, well on their way to out shooting an offense that averages almost 500 yards a game.
Then, on a day when the Owls offense seemingly finished off the game, I decided to write off one of the state’s leading offensive teams.
65 yards in a minute? Not against this defense!
Enter Tigers quarterback, Skyler Howard.
After a drive that took six plays to go a majority of the field, Howard carved up the Owls defense with his arm, his legs and caught a 15-yard pass
Fast forward to eight seconds left in the game. Marquis Thompson catches the winning touchdown and the Tigers are celebrating as they pulled ahead 51-50.
One minute away from beating one of the top teams not only in the state, but the nation, and it slipped away.
There seems to be no balance between both sides of the ball for the Fighting Owls and the Dallas Cowboys.
When the offense produces, the defense doesn’t. When the defense steps up, the offense is nowhere to be found.
Both teams need to find this balance quickly. Their seasons are on the verge of becoming just another bad memory.
The Owls and Cowboys have displayed impressive performances this season, but their best performances seem to result in losses.
Both teams must enter the weekend with a must-win mindset as the Owls host conference opponent the El Camino Warriors and the Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings.
Their seasons depend on it.