After almost a full week of rain, the clouds disappeared last Saturday, the sun shined all day, and temperatures were perfect for an afternoon of college football.
At Faught Stadium on the campus of Franklin (Ind.) College, the football game itself -- between the home team Grizzlies and visiting Trine University Thunder (Angola, Ind.) -- turned out to be a delight. The Grizzlies came from 13 points down late in the third quarter to notch a 30-29 victory. It was the Thunder's first loss of a regular-season game since October 2007 and dropped them from the national Division III rankings. In turn, The Grizzlies entered the Top 25 on Monday at No. 22.
Jesse Mercer of Franklin's 10 tackles, including nine solo, and the Grizzlies only interception -- which thwarted an early second-quarter scoring opportunity for the Thunder -- earned him the defensive player of the week for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
These pictures were taken at that game, my first real opportunity to see what my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens (with 1.4x extender) could do in ideal lighting conditions. A full gallery of images from the game can be found at my online site at my SmugMug.
Top picture features Franklin's Nick Mongan of Greenwood (Center Grove H.S.) running along the sideline for a good gain in first-half action.
Above: Franklin starting quarterback Kyle Ray (Trafalgar/Indian Creek H.S.) launches a pass in first-half action. Ray completed 19 of 38 passes for 162 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter after being shaken up.
Above: Franklin's Nick Purichia (13) snuck around offensive lineman Taylor Paden (51) for a short gain in the second half of the game. Purichia, a graduate of Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis, replaced Ray in the third quarter and completed 14 of 18 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning 13-yard pass to Adam Mellencamp with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in the game. Purichia also rushed 10 times for 32 yards, including a touchdown in the Grizzlies' second-half comeback.
Above: Trine quarterback Eric Watt (13) had a productive day, completing 27 of 39 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. Here, he tries to stave off a tackle attempt by Franklin's Jesse Mercer.
Above: Trine wide receiver and kick returner Mario Brown begins a return of a Franklin kick.
Above: Franklin's Jesse Mercer (33) sets his sight line on a Thunder ball carrier in first-half action.