The rain was a now a curtain. Coach Riner couldn’t see the visitor’s sideline. The refs said they would call the game if there was lighting, but we would play through the rain. Coach Riner's play sheet was in pieces on the ground, it had disintegrated from the rain.
"Time Out!" Coach Riner signaled and approached the side judge. "Time Out!" The whistle blew.
The Tigers were down by four with three minutes left in the third quarter. It was hard to run the ball. It was impossible to throw. The middle of the field was mud. The team huddled in close to Coach Riner.
"We need to get out of the middle of field. Indy Left, Zip, 28 Swing."
"Coach, can we do this out of shotgun? I can't get my feet going in the mud." Mike said.
"Kyle? Can you get it back to him?" Coach Riner asked his center.
"Yes, coach." Kyle never said more than what was needed.
Coach Riner patted him on the top of his helmet. "I thought so. OK, Huston Left, Zip, 28 swing."
For a moment Coach Riner thought about the crowed. He wondered what they could see. How many were in the stands? Coach Riner was happy that his wife had decided to stay home. He turned his mind back to the game as the team broke their huddle. The team was on their own 45-yard line. It was second and eight.
The line judge stood with the ball under his coat. The crew was switching the balls every two downs. Kevin, the ball boy, had given up trying to keep the balls dry. He now set his efforts on getting the mud off.
"Ready?" The line judge asked as Kyle step up to set the line.
"Yes, sir." Kyle replied as he set his feet.
The line judge set the ball down with the laces away. The teams set their lines. There was no jumping around, linebackers set their bodies to face their gaps, DBs got into a wider athletic position. The receivers set like stone. No one was going to risk losing their footing.
Mike surveyed the defense as a habit, not really looking at the defensive set. The weather had canceled any adjustments. "Blue 78...” Mike paused. 1, 2, 3, ... 11? As Mike was scanning the second time his quarterback instincts kicked in. They had all eleven players in. The safety and free safety were sitting about eight yards back. Even with the shotgun formation they were playing all out run. Black 30 series flashed across his mind.
Teon would still come across in motion. Jay would still swing. But instead of blocking the backer, Teon would release for a flag rout, Cam would block and release. Could he make that pass? Coach Riner's voice piped up in his head, "You are the leader on the field. Lead." Mike wanted this game for Jason, for this team to get back above .500. Nothing would be lost if he simply ran the play. Coach Riner had called it. Coach was taking the chance on a pass play; the audible wouldn't be any different.
"Black 34. Black 34." Mike called out. Teon crossed his face. Mike swore he saw a smile. "Set.... Hut!"