If you appreciated the playing conditions at Darling Stadium on Saturday afternoon, chances are you grew up in the Northeast. Either that or you're an odd bird.
In a word, the field was a quagmire. And as the old saying goes: When you have a team that relies on its quickness against a team that isn't as quick, the weather can be a great neutralizer.
"It really nullified our speed today," Phoebus coach Stan Sexton said. "I really felt we'd be able to do things on the perimeter against them.
"It was difficult for both teams, but I think they were more suited for it because of their big backs. We have a lot of speed, and we're not quite as big up front."
Phoebus ended up pulling through. After totaling 22 yards and moving the chains only once in the first half, the Phantoms played ball-control offense in the second half and came away with a 10-7 win over Hanover.
But the weather didn't make it easy. Tailback Colby Goodwyn, who came in averaging 130 yards per game, had five carries for no yards in the first half. His speed usually allows him to get to the edge, but that was no-go on the sloppy track.
"With the rain and the mud, we just had to grind it out and get what we could get," he said. "We just ran inside. The basic power stuff."
Goodwyn adjusted and ran for 121 yards on 27 carries in the second half. But his longest run of the day was for 14 yards.
"There were four or five times Colby got in the open," Sexton said, "and on a dry field it (would have been) a touchdown."
Hanover looked at home in the conditions. Tailback Deane Cheatham, a 215-pound workhorse, ran for 65 yards on 18 carries. Quarterback Sam Rogers, only 14 years old, added another 35.
At halftime, Hanover had 122 total yards. That was 100 more than Phoebus had. A big part of the reason was Hawks defensive end Blake Jones, who finished with 111/2 tackles.
"The first half, he was coming at us really hard," Goodwyn said. "We had to get some schemes to stop him. We had to make a few adjustments at halftime, because we didn't (know) what kind of defense they'd be in.
"At halftime, the (coaches) from the booth came down and we made some adjustments. They gave some good holes and we made some cuts and runs."
Though it wasn't easy in the muck.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times