From my point of view, there are few things better than a Friday night of high school football.
It's a community event. Old-timers and middle-schoolers, parents and future players. Enthusiastic PA announcers. Pregame tailgating. Student cheering sections. Bands. Lights. Dew on the grass. I love everything about it.
And I haven't even mentioned the games, yet.
Last Friday at Buffalo, the Bison hosted Elk River in perhaps the most epic football game I've ever witnessed. Elk River won, an 80-70 opus of offense that set a state record for total points. The Elks' fast-break ground attack was operating at peak efficiency. Buffalo's passing game was matching Elk River yard-for-yard, touchdown-for-touchdown. Big plays were happening at a furious pace.
I saw them all. Well, I saw a majority of them.
Keeping up with scoring and commenting on the Minnesota Football Hub, along with tweeting and monitoring email, forces a reporter to multitask during games. There are no official scorers or statisticians to depend on, no Sports Information Directors to provide background. It's possible there might be a replay available if a game is being streamed, but that's just one more website to monitor and one more reason to take your eyes off the field.
My quickly jotted notes were a mess of almost-undiscernable scribbles. Brad Zrust, Buffalo's amiable softball coach who doubles as a spotter during football games, sat next to me in the press box and found himself saddled with double-duty, answering my frequent "Who carried the ball on that play?" queries. With my head bobbing up and down like a prairie gopher, I missed Buffalo wide receiver Treyton Welch's one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
And there are no commercial breaks in high school football, so chances to catch up and catch your breath are few. Time outs were my best friends.
I'm not complaining. It's a pretty good way to make a living. And I got to witness a game I'll never forget.
I just wish I'd seen more of it.