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No Retreat in Defeat

September 5, 2015
Terry Vaughan

"Where in  the heck are the Tornadoes?"

No doubt this was the question on the minds of Bradford fans who made the trip to Macclenny Friday night in a much anticipated renewal of the rivalry with Baker County. You see, the second half was about to begin and the Tornadoes had still not exited the locker room.

Who could blame them? After all, they had been pushed around, humiliated, and on the wrong side of a 33-0 score at intermission. Following an impressive opening week victory, Tornado fans had hope that this was the season that their team would reclaim their strangle hold on the series and halt a 9 game losing skid to Baker. The sub plots had to favor the scarlet and gray, right? Four fellows with direct ties to the Baker program were now wearing whistles draped on scarlet polos. Fans were salivating as they envisioned a night of redemption in the land of the evil empire.

Instead, as they waited for the team to take the field for the 3rd quarter, a shell shocked fanbase likely felt like they were being covered up in the Wildcat's litter box.

Maybe the Tornadoes meekly slipped out the back door and boarded the yellow dog back to Starke. Perhaps they were consulting legal counsel on how to draw up a document of unconditional surrender.

Based on the steam that bellowed out of the bowels of that locker room when the doors finally busted open, I think it is safe to say that the actual cause of the delay was a old fashioned fire and brimstone "butt chewin" by  Tornado coaches who knew this team had not played anywhere near its capability. Missed tackles. Penalties. Sacks. Blown assignments.

Opportunity lost.

Or was it? The team obviously did not like having their ears singed and responded accordingly. Bradford shut out the Wildcat offense the rest of the way and put two touchdowns on the board themselves. What was shaping up to be a beatdown of Biblical proportions ended up being a 33-14 respect saving setback to a 5A football team. 

The second half performance gives Bradford something to build on as they look ahead. Instead of mailing it in, the Tornadoes responded with an excellent half of football. This team can be competitive with anyone on the schedule when it executes.

This Friday they return home to challenge a good Taylor County squad. As the band plays the fight song, Tornado fans will eagerly wait for their boys to emerge from the locker room and take the field. If they can carry the same fire with them they possessed coming out of the halftime locker room last Friday night in Macclenny, there is still reason to believe that the view forward will be one we can enjoy.