Take on Pirate Sports
TOM SOUTHERN, ECU '74
From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Fans of distinction made
Pirate faithful show ultimate class at dark
Dowdy-Ficklen's 200th game was one to remember. The day saw
big plays, key mistakes by one and all — including the officiating crew —
and an unforgettable moment of spontaneity by the fans.
There was the shotgun snap that got by the South Florida
quarterback and turned into an East Carolilna touchdown.
There was the phantom touchdown in the second overtime that
hit the turf before finding the arms of the USF receiver.
There was the missed extra point, the kick that was
partially blocked, then doinked off the side of the left upright.
Then, there was the standing ovation for the Pirate football
That standing “O” was truly something that I never expected.
Yes, this Pirate football team had fought hard. Still, this team was 1-9 and
had just lost when it couldn’t execute one of the game’s easier plays.
The extra point attempt seemed like it was in slow motion.
The remaining Homecoming crowd stood in stunned silence as the football fell
harmlessly out of the sky. It was like something out of a movie. Tears
flowed from some of the players, and the fans probably didn’t quite know how
Many of us had never seen anything like it. The Pirates had
rallied from down 21-0 to send the game to overtime. There were so many
momentum-swinging plays. There were so many questionable calls.
But in one fleeting second, the Pirates' chance for an upset
win — and only the team’s second win of the season — went by the wayside.
Pirate fans could have booed. Good teams just don’t miss
But these fans understood that they had been a part of
something special. They saw how Vonta Leach had taken this team on his
shoulders, pounding out yard after yard with the game on the line.
Leach scored the touchdown for what should have sent the
game to a third overtime. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes life gives us
a bad call.
The phantom touchdown in overtime was everything that I
don’t agree with in officiating. If you’re not sure, then it didn’t happen.
I was no more then six feet away from the ‘catch’ in the end
zone. I not only saw the trap, I heard the football hit the turf. There is
NO WAY that the play should have been ruled a touchdown!
One official admitted to the other that he didn’t get a good
look. Instead of waving it off, the other official signaled touchdown.
Officials are taught at an early age that sometimes you have
to “sell” a call, to make sure that, even if the call isn’t right, you as an
official are sure of what you saw.
How many of you thought the official sold that call?
Still, the standing ovation that the Pirate fans gave the
players after the game will go down as one of the classiest things I’ve ever
been a part of with East Carolina University. The Pirate Nation should be
Rare look at future
East Carolina will hold an intrasquad football scrimmage
session as part of Thursday's practice schedule. The hour-long scrimmage
will be held in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium beginning at 3:30 p.m. and is open to
the public. Admission is free of charge.
The official release says that many of ECU's players who
have seen limited or no action in the regular season's first 10 games will
participate, including freshmen who are being red-shirted and athletes
ineligible to play in official competition in 2003.
Florida transfer Patrick Dosh will play at the quarterback
position, giving us all a chance to check in on his progress.
The Pirates are off this week, before closing out at Tulane
and then at home against Southern Miss.
East Carolina junior outfielder Darryl Lawhorn has been
named second-team preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball
Writers of America.
Lawhorn was named second-team All-Conference USA in 2003
after hitting .332 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs, 49 RBI and 49 runs scored.
He also was named to the 2003 C-USA all-tournament team.
Lawhorn was named NCBWA first-team preseason All-America in
2003 after being named the 2002 C-USA Freshman of the Year and Co-National
Freshman of the Year by Collegiate Baseball.
The Pirates open the 2004 season at home against UNC
Asheville on Feb. 13.
Send an e-mail message to
Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville
02/23/2007 01:26:43 AM