Every week is a good week covering high school sports. As I've blogged about ad nauseum, that's how I feel and that's where I want to be. I have no interest in getting treated like excrement by NFL coaches or in the say-nothing quotes blathered by a certain state college football coach.
I made a visit to Rocky Hill and was greeted with a wry smile from a girls soccer player. "Did you have to wear that sweatshirt?" she said.
She was referring to a big old comfortable Ohio State hoodie that I often wear when the weather gets chilly. I went to college in Athens, Ohio, and my sister went to State so I've always had an affinity for the Buckeyes.
I asked her why she doesn't like Ohio State and she answered, "I was at the game. I was in Happy Valley." Of course she was referring to the Buckeyes successful invasion of Penn State last Saturday night. Yep, while everyone else in New England was reveling in the Red Sox' success, I was watching OSU-PSU.
I told her I was sorry I disappointed her and went on my way to the cozy McVicar Field press box and some great local sports chatter with the Terriers gang. (Why do they call us the Terriers. shouldn't we be the Rocky Hill Raptors, somebody said. Hmm. How true with the dinosaur museum in town.)
Well the Terriers under Bill Pacelia put an exclamation point on their late-season turnaround with a stunning 1-0 win over Berlin. And who popped in the winning goal? My little friend the Nittany Lion, whose name happens to be Nicole Webb.
Rachel Rozewski set things up by passing to Joyce Grodovich rushing down the center of the field toward the Berlin goal. Grodovich touched a through ball to Webb, who banged it home for the game-winner. Wasn't I shocked that the young lady who scored the winning goal was the personable young lady who made me feel welcome with that pregame small talk.
The Terriers (8-7-1) barge into the Class M tournament with a tie against Farmington and four straight wins. If you're looking for a darkhorse, take in a practice at McVicar Field. Credit a veteran coach who knows what buttons to push.
"They believe that they're in every game, that they can beat any team now," said Pacelia, who has made an effort to tone down a bit this year, but surely not enough to bury the personality that makes him unique and effective.
"It's an understanding that we have. There is one of two ways I'm going to coach; either I'm goinna stand here and not say anything, which I'm perfectly happy doing now. ... Or I'm going to be getting on 'em. They said when I'm not saying anything, they don't like it. They know it's nothing personal."
Two weeks ago they were 4-7 and the tournament looked iffy. Now higher ranked Class M teams are looking at the projected seedings and saying, "Uh-oh."