Hallowe’en is hallocrappy…

We may have been doomed from the outset. It was, after all, Sat., Oct.31 -Hallowe’en. On the way to the tailgate party the barbecue fell over and obliterated the burners. BOOOO. A quick trip to the store and 50 bucks later, new burners were being rigged into the old bar-b. Only they didn’t fit. BOOOO-HISS! With grim determination and a roll of duct tape, the party was back on. But with the impending threat of explosion, the sausages weren’t the only things feeling the heat. Ironically, the Dinosaurs football squad was also trying to avoid being burned by the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the last game of a season.

Unfortunately for the Dinos, yet fortunately for our eyebrows, luck resided outside the stadium as the 1998 University of Calgary football season went up in smoke. A second quarter comeback with a touchdown and two point conversion was not enough to offset two successive Edmonton TDs, the second one resulting from a fumbled Dinos kickoff return. Last minute long bombs could not extinguish a fire fueled by turnovers, penalties, a lacklustre offence and an ultimate 23-20 loss.

KABOOM.

All we can do now is look over the glowing embers of the season with a cold beer and talk about the hot spots.

"It was an interesting year," remarked fifth-year lineman Barkley Anderson. "I thought we might do better. But that’s the way it went."

As for their last game, he felt the team didn’t move the ball when needed.

"You can’t win without driving the ball, it was fire and go then fire and stop," said Anderson.

With a Vanier championship ring as a member of the 1995 Dinos team, the unexpected end to this season hasn’t soured him, this being his last year of eligibility.

"I had a fun time and played with a great bunch of guys. I wouldn’t replace it for anything!"
Joining the team in 1996, cornerback Ken Watt spent his first two years of eligibility playing in California. This being his last year, he is somewhat less nostalgic about the loss which for him, like a lot of other players, has yet to sink in.

"It’s hard to go through the season with a defence playing at a championship level every game waiting for the offence to produce," said the frustrated Watt who hopes to appeal his first year in Cali for another shot at the Vanier Cup with such a solid crew. "I wouldn’t pass up playing on this defence again for anything."

Next year’s defence will boast a relatively unchanged lineup. Not entirely bitter, Watt also points out the team’s previous chances (such as the playoffs in 1997) and admits, "that’s just the way football goes."

With another year to play, defensive lineman Brian Shewchuk echoed the team’s frustration with harmful turnovers which played a major part in the last game.

"Edmonton had nothing to lose ‘and with giving up six turnovers to their two, it was hard for us to win," reflected Shewchuk who, although disappointed with the lost potential, feels for those like Watt in their last year without a cup win.

Head Coach Tony Fasano also extended his sympathy to the seniors who "never gave up" over the frustrating season, which he points out, elapsed very quickly. As to the question of whether it’s hard to gain momentum in such a short season,
Fasano disagrees. With every team playing the same number of games, he feels it shouldn’t make a difference.

"In retrospect, we started off with a 1-2 record which put us behind the eight ball… it’s difficult to come from that position," said Fasano. "But the players responded really well by beating Manitoba and British Columbia, playing the best we’ve played in a while and we found ourselves tied for first place. Unfortunately, in the last couple of weeks we suffered some injuries which, though part of the game, disrupted our chemistry and timing as we lost some game experience."

Well, we could sit on the comfy couch and talk about the could’ves and should’ves until next season, but we won’t. The Dinos’ season ender, though disappointing, shouldn’t find us tearing up like it’s smoke in our eyes. Why not? Let me count the ways:

1) Great games played and seen
2) Groovy sound bytes
3) Insightful profiles
4) Extra study/beer drinking time
5) Next year
6) Some of us won’t get our asses blown off by a faulty barbecue!

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