Two weeks ago, Shane, Alex and I roadtripped to Florence, Ala., for Northwest's national championship game. After driving all day long, we got there just in time for the Friday night social — in "downtown Flo Town" — where we met Naomi, the newest Bearcat fan around. She'd been to one Northwest game in her life: the week before.
Who knew Florence has so much culture? Certainly not the locals.
Unfortunately, we stayed at The Economy Inn. So much for KTSB. Where do I even start? When checking in, the manager came to unlock the front door ... barefoot. The first thing I said upon entering our room was, "Were we supposed to pay extra for lightbulbs?" And if I had to describe it in one word, it would be "God-forsaken."
We suggest its new tagline be either "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Take your pick." or "How bad can it be? Come see for yourself."
Of course I took many more pictures than just this one (of the shower wall), but they:
1. Are for evidence.
2. Run the risk of having Blogspot shut me down for gross indecency.
3. Are in case you ever consider staying at The Economy Inn.
Luckily, we returned the remote control first thing in the morning and left for the Northwest tailgate party as soon as we could. We had front row "seats" for both the pep rally and to cheer on the team as they exited the buses following the police escort to the stadium.
Over the past four years, Northwest's seniors compiled an incredible record of 53-6, never lost a conference game (36-0) and were 28-1 on their home field.
The flyover at the end of the Star Spangled dance remix. (It was wierd.)
Our favorite highlights of the game were:
— Northwest converting four first downs in only six plays on its opening scoring drive.
— In the second quarter, Northwest breaking a 48-yard punt return, thanks to a monster block that leveled the Grand Valley State defender. (That night, it was ESPN's No. 3 play of the day!) One play later, LaRon Council scored on a 17-yard touchdown run that gave Northwest a 21-0 halftime lead.
— In the fourth quarter (when things were looking hairy), Northwest faced third down and 22 at Grand Valley's 44 yard line when Council caught a short pass and broke several tackles for an 18-yard gain. On the next play, Northwest went for it on fourth down ... and scored with a 26-yard touchdown pass!
— Grand Valley State, a team that loves to run the ball, being held to only 91 rushing yards.
My favorite sign.
At the post-game celebration.
Alex "with" Sean Paddock. Just like he's "with" Sean Paddock's girlfriend.