Column: 'The Sports Trail":Frightening look at football seasons on tap this Halloween

Friday, November 4, 2005

It was a frightful thing to sit down and write this column today -- but only because it's Halloween!

This is one of my favorite times of the year, but not because I go out trick-or-treating like I did back in high school days. The holiday is an excuse to see what creative things people can come up with for decorations and costumes.

I think football coaches get into the swing of things also by this time of the season. For instance, Coach Budd Smith at Berryville revived the old swinging gate offense to trick a 12-0 win from the Lincoln Junior Wolves.

The Green Forest Junior Tiger football team was "tricked" out of a game at Pea Ridge last Thursday when a traffic accident took out a power pole near enough to Blackhawk stadium to kill the lights.

That game was to be replayed Monday. You remember Monday, when Mother Nature gave up her "drought trick" and gave us some much-needed rain. Playing on a wet field was a first for the Junior Tigers, as it would have been for any team this fall.

Finally, Razorback football coach Houston Nutt hasstopped tricking fans with the Robert Johnson thing at quarterback. It was clear from the first game the kid wasn't a passer. He's proved it often since then.

I mean, you don't have to be great, just get it to your receivers once in a while to keep defenses honest. It tells you how good the Hog running game is when you look and see eight or nine big guys on defense just a yard off the ball, and yards are still gained.

Looks like Nutt has finally figured out he needs another gun to trigger the offense, so he's going with freshman Casey Dick.

Now the hype starts.

"I know he hasn't played in college yet, but he's done some things that are encouraging," Nutt said. "He's thrown against our defense all year long and done very, very well. He has a strong arm and good instincts. It's hard to explain, he just has 'it'."

Maybe the "it" comes from the Halloween spirits or the fact he played high school football at Allen, Texas, and has, as Nutt says, "been an impressive passer in practice and shown the skills to move the offense."

Well. He did all that, and against our defense in practice? Wow, he must be really good.

Anyway, look for some more of that creative stuff, for both high school and college coaches as the seasons run out. High school playoffs are dead here in Carroll County, with both the Tigers and Bobcats staying home.

And with the Hogs at 2-5 overall, 0-4 in SEC play, and facing a revived South Carolina team this Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville at 11:30 a.m., their playoff hopes have about the same chances as Ichabod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

But wait. It's the season of mystery and decoration. Could Houston Nutt revive the Hogs by dressing up, er, out a new quarterback? Can the Hogs beat the Ghosts of Mississippi? Will the legend of creepy bayou near Baton Rogue rule or the Miracle on Markham?

Consult your Ouija board for the answers!

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