Walker Brittain, CFNN Football Reporter
Not since the classic NFL games of days gone by and the epic defensive struggles on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field has there been a football game like Friday night’s, or at least, these games are rare for the Cape Fear Colts.
“Winning is habit,” said Vince Lombardi. “Unfortunately, so is losing.”
Since 2004 and before Friday, October 25, 2019, the Colts, when holding their opponents to 7 points or fewer, had a record of 29-1. On the flip side of that coin, the Colts had a record of 1-31 when scoring 7 points or fewer. After Friday night’s contest, that record stands at 30-1 and 2-31 with a 7-6 victory over the Patriot Conference-leading South View Tigers. Friday’s total was the fewest points South View has scored since 2016.
Since 2014, there had been only 3 occasions where the Colts have scored less than 7 points, but only other time the Colts won a game like this was a 7-0 victory against the Westover Wolverines in 2009. Since 2016, the Colts are 18-0 when holding their opponents to fewer than 7 points. There have only been three games since 2004 in which both teams have totaled under 13 points.
“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one,” said Lombardi. “What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.”
The Colts practice schedules all week said “No one believes we can win” and “Believe you can win the game on the last play.” That is what the Colts did. They believed and they had faith.
The game was knotted at 0-0 at the half. It reminded the crowd more of a soccer game than a football game.
“We talked about maintaining blocks longer,” said Coach Jake Thomas. “Staying on blocks was the main thing, but we knew they were a good team. There is a reason that they have lost one game, a reason they are the number one scoring offense and number one scoring defense. We knew they were a good team, and it was going to be a battle. I told the guys we have them right where we want them. It’s 0-0, and we have the ball coming out of halftime. We’re going to be ok.”
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence,” said Lombardi.
The Colts held the Patriot Athletic Conference’s leading rusher Matthew Pemberton in check for most of the game. Pemberton almost impacted the game more as the Tigers punter than as their star running back. The Colts were on their toes every time Pemberton stepped on the field to prevent a fake punt. South View even put him on defense. Coach Thomas preached not giving up the home run, and they very nearly did.
With six minutes left in the third quarter however the Colts chased Pemberton down on the two after he ran 58-yards. Jevon Carter then punched the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard sneak. A bad snap prevented the extra point for the Tigers, yet they scored first and took the lead.
On the ensuing drive, Colts wide receiver Isaiah Lee caught excellence. Quarterback Kimani Britton rolled right, avoided a sack, and delivered excellence to Lee, and he finished it off with a mad dash for the goal line. Mason Smith hit the go ahead extra point, and the Colts defense did the rest.
“Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work,” said Lombardi.
Stopping the number one offense in the conference was definitely a group effort. The Colts stayed alert, communicated with each other, and swarmed to the ball on every play. They knew that if one of them missed their assignment, Pemberton and the Tigers would have ended up in the end zone.
“To become a champion, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else does. The belief comes from your determination, work ethic, commitment, abilities, teammates. If you truly believe you do something great, you will do something great.” That is not a Lombardi quote. That is a Jake Thomas quote.