Two minutes seemed like forever. But, with dogged determination, House Ocelot managed to tie the score. There was no mistake at all in their strategy, and House Fennec fell for it, having to regroup on the fly. Naturally, it was only two minutes, and the second half was still to be played. Fortunately, all players for House Ocelot, and their supporters, came away without any injuries and felt as though they had a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.
With the exception of Robert Quickfoot, that is.
Robert was so enthralled with the action on the field, he found he was drinking his soda cider a little too fast. Because of this, he had to have a long half time visit to the washroom. At least he had Jada and Claudia there to give him a hand, and they managed to get him to a washroom before any accident happened. When he came out, he was looking a little worse for wear.
“Oh, I feel so sick,” he moaned as he leaned against the door frame of the stadium washroom.
“You drank your soda too fast, Robert,” Claudia said with a consoling sigh as she wrapped an arm around his shoulders.
“I know,” he replied with some reluctance as he nodded. He was moving a little slow, but was feeling better thanks to the ministrations of Claudia and Jada. “I’m just glad you two were here to help.”
“Are you kidding,” Jada said with a chuckle as she helped Claudia guide Robert back to the stands. “Consider it payment for keeping me from marching down to the pitch and making a fool of myself.” She gently patted Robert’s shoulder, who only looked up with a small smile. “We should probably find a good shady spot, keep you out of the sun.”
“And get you plenty of water,” Claudia agreed as she gave Robert a firm nod. Robert nodded back in reply. At least he had friends to help him. It was much better than when he first arrived to take quantum mechanics and astrophysics. He didn’t know anyone, and had such a hard time fitting in. Then he met Gilbert Shortclaw, and found they had similar interests. Their friendship helped get them through some lonely days. Then, they met Claudia, who’s cheery nature was often infectious. Thanks to Claudia, that opened the door to meeting others, such as the friends he’d made within House Ocelot. Never had he thought that air cadets would associate with the likes of him, but after six years, he found it to be the best years of his life.
And now he was cheering on his friends on the pitch.
As Claudia and Jada helped Robert find a shaded seat, the players had made their way back onto the field. They looked as though they had a renewed purpose. This was their time, after all, and they proved they could confuse and confound their opposition. They just had to make certain they could keep that confusion up, and hope House Fennec would falter. If they could, it would be the greatest upset in the history of the Academy. But they still had the entire second half to play.
Millicent Yarborough didn’t call them into a huddle, but Aria Sharpspear and Senia Felix did. The pair were natural born leaders. Even Senia, with her speech impediment, always seemed to capture the attention of the audience and inspire.
“We’ve got thirty minutes left in this match,” Senia said as the huddle settled down. “We can do this. We fought back and tied it, now we can take it. We’re known for our unique ability to strategize on the fly.”
“The minute Fennec starts hitting our right side,” Aria added as she looked from face to face. “We switch. But we’ll switch it up in different ways. Go back to Clarfax, then back to you Ridgewell, but don’t be too surprised if we end up coming to you, Mills, and Pinkerton. We keep up the attack from all angles, and keep them on the defensive.”
“Thirty minutes,” Senia reminded them with a smile. “And we send House Ocelot back to the final for the first time since Left-tenant Colonel Artemis Dawkins and Saergent Harriet Taggart did during their days at the Academy.” The players all nodded in agreement, firm in their convictions. “Thirty minutes. Let’s not waste a single second.”
Sometimes thirty minutes can be a long time, but often in certain situations, thirty minutes isn’t very long at all. Aria Sharpspear and Clarfax Billings took the opening kick off and went up the left side, hoping to fool the defense. It worked, as the pair, together with Ridgewell, raced into the Fennec end and scored a touch. They managed to hold back the push of House Fennec during the next series, and began back again, this time scoring a kick to put themselves solidly in the lead by nine points. The next ten minutes was a back and forth struggle, as neither team could find the advantage.
House Fennec, however, had the reputation for being stoic and undaunting. After a ten minute long tug of war, Fennec gained the advantage. Lead by Philburt, the forwards raced up the middle until they entered Ocelot territory, but knew they would have a difficult time getting a kick past Senia and Pinkerton. That didn’t stop them from making a push for a touch, leaving them down by only six points.
The two teams struggled for another five minutes, neither really taking the advantage or giving it up. But House Fennec found a hole, and drove hard toward the goal. House Ocelot’s defenders weren’t expecting it, and they found themselves only three points up, with two minutes left to play. The struggle continued, and House Ocelot drew some breathing room, getting a touch to go up by six points again. A masterful push that saw Ridgewell score with only a minute left. House Fennec wasn’t done, though, as they pushed back and managed a masterful play of their own that saw them achieve a kick in the last thirty seconds. It looked as though it would go into extra time, as the two teams began their strategy. House Ocelot began back up the field, holding as much hope in their eyes as House Fennec had courage in their hearts.
- Rocket Fox: Let the games begin (taholtorf.wordpress.com)