"In the regular season," Porter said, "it would definitely have been Lake Mary."
Porter, a high school receiver, then recounted how his team lost two top defenders to severe cramping late in the game. He also mentioned that their kicker missed three extra points. He failed, of course, to mention the real reason Lake Mary won -- the dominant play of offensive tackle
OK, that's not true. Though I played a decent game against a defense that featured future New York Giant
Which brings us back to Don T. Reynolds Stadium on a balmy October night in 1995. Lake Howell led, 18-13. The Silver Hawks had the ball deep in their own territory, but they needed only two first downs to run out the clock. With a little less than three minutes remaining, running back
Instead, Casey ripped the ball away and ran 34 yards to the end zone. My Lake Mary team won, 19-18. "We also missed a field goal that would have won the game," Porter said.
I apologize for boring you with tales of high school glory, but I have a reason. I want to save the best show on television. Every time I watch Dillon pull off a miracle, I remember that night. The show feels so real. It stirs those memories so vigorously that for a moment, I can remember exactly how it felt to be a high school senior. I can feel the mix of elation and nausea that hit like a 280-pound defensive tackle every time I tried to talk to that blonde cheerleader I'd pined for since seventh grade. I remember what life was like before I had a mortgage. I wonder if I finished my physics homework.
Even if you didn't play football in high school, you'll feel the same way when you watch the show. And watch it you must, because if you don't, we might never see another episode. We might never know if Riggins managed to win cheerleader-turned-Born-Again-radio-host Lyla Garrity away from her rich, Bible-thumping beau. We won't know if tailback Brian "Smash" Williams honored his verbal commitment to Whitmore or if one of the football factories that recruited him before his unfortunate incident at the movie theater scooped him up on national Signing Day. We may never hear the entire Dillon student body chanting, "Tyra Collette graduates!"
NBC brass thinks we'd rather watch pablum like
Non-viewers may think this sounds a bit too much like a soap opera. It's not. The scripts are written so well and the cast is so good that even the most implausible plot twists seem grounded in reality. Because for every Hail Mary or meth dealer robbery, there's a mother-daughter scrap between coach's wife Tami Taylor (
"I'm not going to mince words," said Porter, who plays a can't-miss quarterback paralyzed during the first game of his senior season. "It's really a shame when the network announces half of the fall lineup, and we're nowhere to be found. And as a matter of fact, the head of the network says that we aren't a show you should be paying attention to because nobody watches us in the first place. ... We don't feel that we've been given a fair shot."
In 2006, NBC threw
Porter said cast members realized they'd made something special after filming the pilot. After wrapping the episode, Chandler, a veteran of television and the movies, tried to make his young co-stars understand that Hollywood rarely gets it so right.
"We may never have a show like this again," Porter remembered Chandler saying. "Those of you on a show for the first time, appreciate it now, because you're never going to feel like this again."
And unless we viewers do something about it, we may never see
By the time they make up their minds, much of the talented cast may have better things to do. Porter is starring opposite
So what you we do to save
So watch the show, send some footballs and hope for the best. According to Porter, the cast would love to kick off season three. "I know I'm biased," Porter said, "but it's the best show on television."
And Porter needs some good news. After reliving that gutwrencher on that Friday Night in 1995, his bruised psyche can only be healed by helping