Tallwood v. Ocean Lakes: Regular game or grudge match?

Malcolm Allen

The Tallwood Lions varsity football team took on the Ocean Lakes Dolphins football team on Friday, September 7, here at Tallwood High School. Tallwood came into this game with a 2-0 record after dominating Princess Anne in their first game, and winning a nail-biting game at Green Run. This game was the first meeting between the two since last season when Ocean Lakes defeated Tallwood in a 41-6 rout, so you could assume that winning this game was more important than it would originally be. Prior to the game, I interviewed three returning players from the Tallwood varsity football team in two separate interviews, and got their opinions about the then-upcoming game against the Dolphins. I asked them about what they felt went wrong in last year’s game, how they can improve on it this time around, and if there were any feelings of resentment going into the game. My first interview was with junior offensive lineman Chris Johnson:

Me: First off, how did the team feel altogether about last year’s loss to Ocean Lakes?

CJ: Well, last year we broke down. We felt like we couldn’t do it. We felt like they had us beat, but this year we’re coming back successful. We’re going to play hard, and we’re going to keep up with it.

Me: So this year, are there any hard feelings about Ocean Lakes?

CJ: No. We’re going to play the same game, and we’re going to play harder.

Me: If I could jog your memory, what do you think the team could’ve done better last year, and how do you think they can execute better this year?

CJ: Well, what we could do better is keep our heads up, and not fall apart when we’re down, and when they score. We just have to come back harder.

Me: Thank you and good luck to you.

CJ: Thanks.

During my interview with Chris Johnson, he definitely seemed confident in the way that the team was playing and preparing for the game. Throughout my second interview with sophomore running back Gunner White and senior offensive/defensive lineman Miles Davis, I felt the same vibe from both of them.

Me: About last year’s game, what do you feel went wrong with that game?

GW: Last year as a team, we just weren’t like we are this year. This year we prepared better, we got better leadership, and all in all we’re just a better team this year.

MD: Yeah, this year I just think we got way way better leadership than last year, especially with seniors teaching underclassmen how to play the game.

Me: OK, how do you feel you guys can get the win tonight?

GW: We’re going to be good. We’ve been gameplanning for them all week, and I mean we’re going to play our game. We’re going to run the ball, and throw the ball on offense, and we’re going to have success there, and our defense is going to lock them up like they always do.

MD: To me, for us to get the job done tonight is not a physical thing, it’s all mental, everyone does their one-eleven, and I think we can get the job done.

Me: Any hard feelings about Ocean Lakes after last year’s game?

MD: No.

GW: I mean, yeah. They beat us 41-6, and that’s not going to happen this year.

Me: Thank you guys, and good luck.

All three players felt confident about the game against Ocean Lakes. They would go on to lose a hard fought 49-21 battle against OL. However the Lions did bounce back to shutout Kempsville by a score of 42-0, showing us that the Ocean Lakes loss is just a minor setback in what looks to be a great season for Tallwood High School football.

Click here to access other articles in Volume 4, Issue 1 of The Roaring Gazette.