saternow, lynn 2010

Lynn Saternow

By Lynn Saternow

Herald Sports Editor

WHILE THE Steelers and Browns may be playing out the string, at least the Mercer County area fans have some winners to follow.

The success of West Middlesex and Wilmington High football teams has the area buzzing, especially the last-second victory by the Big Reds of coach Brian Hoffman Friday night over Coudersport. The finish had all the earmarks of a made-for-TV movie:

Scene: A windy, cold football field in western Pennsylvania. The camera pans to the scoreboard, where apparently only seconds remain in the season for a tired, but gutsy West Middlesex football team.

A gimpy quarterback Kolten Hoffman, who injured his ankle while making a defensive stop a short time earlier, limps behind center for one last play at the Coudersport 34-yard line. He looks down the line at his cousin, Tyler Barris, and their eyes lock.

“We’ve been here before, Ty,” Kolten thinks out loud. “Let’s do it.”

Suddenly, the TV screen fills with a flashback to years before:

A young Kolten is in the street and heaves the ball high into the air. Tyler makes a turn, eludes an imaginary defender and pulls in the pass.

Laughing, Kolten and Tyler high-five and celebrate winning the big game!

The screen returns to the present with the camera locked in as Kolten drops back to pass, just as he had done a million times before as a youngster in streets and yards. In slow motion, the determined West Middlesex line is pounding against the hard rush, while the receivers head downfield and separate.

Kolten launches the ball. It seems like eternity as the wind batters against the floating object. Then it settles into the sure hands of Tyler in the end zone. Bedlam breaks loose as teammates storm the end zone.

Kolten battles back a tear as he thinks about all the years he and Tyler had hooked up before, dreaming of the day it would really count. Kolten slowly walks on the sore ankle as the screen fades out then again flashes back to a pair of young cousins on a street in West Middlesex.

Laughing, Kolten and Tyler high-five and celebrate winning the big game!

Life is good!

Congratulations to West Middlesex and Wilmington for reaching the PIAA state semifinals. Let’s hope they can keep it rolling for two more weeks.

Meanwhile, as exhilarating as high school football can be, how depressing is it to watch the Steelers and Browns. Both team were embarrassed last week. If you think that was bad, wait until today.

Pittsburgh is a heavy favorite against Tampa Bay. No matter, the Bucs will win 17-13 against a banged up Steelers team. The Browns will continue to lose as they fall to Kansas City, 24-3.

Last week my picks went 9-4 for a season mark of 114-58. Following are the rest of this week’s picks, betting line in parentheses just for fun:

Dallas (-3 1/2) over NY Giants

Denver (-3 1/2) over Seattle

Jacksonville (plus 1 1/2) over Miami

Indy (-7) over Tennessee

Chicago (-9) over Minnesota

Buffalo (plus 6) over San Diego

Carolina (-3) over Philly

New Orleans (-7) over San Fran

Atlanta (plus 2) over Washington

Green Bay (plus 2) over NY Jets

New England (-13) over Detroit

Houston (plus 3) over Oakland

St. Louis (-6 1/2) over Arizona

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