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Slippers, chips, remote - Warhorses on TV

Fred McCormick Columnist

Last week presented me with the opportunity to enjoy yet another truly unique sports moment of the Swannanoa Valley.

With family coming in to visit on Thursday night, I got to introduce some loved ones to Warhorse football.

As many of you know, the Warhorses were in action on live television last week as they made the trip to Hendersonville to take on the Western Highlands Conference rival, Bearcats. I decided that I was going to watch Owen play from the comfort of my own home.

Just about anyone that knows me has heard me talk about football at Owen at some point in time. It’s actually pretty often that I’ll refer to a play or a player when speaking to a friend or family member several states away as though they should be completely familiar with the reference.

It didn’t take long for me to start talking about last year’s game between the Owen and Hendersonville at Warhorse Stadium that saw the home team squeak by with 57-54 win. That will probably always be one of the wildest games I’ve ever seen.

The first “well, look at that” moment watching the Warhorses television debut was before the ball was even in play. During the pregame coverage, my family and I were starting to fix our plates when I pointed at the television and said “Hey, there’s Coach Ford on TV.”

Kenny Ford, the former Warhorse coach, was interviewing Hendersonville coach Eric Gash. It may have been only Ford’s third Thursday night game, but he looked as comfortable as though he had been in front of the camera for years.

I settled in for dinner with my family, and it wasn’t long before I stood up and yelled “Go Sidney, go,” as Owen sophomore Sidney Gibbs zipped down the sideline.

My family humored me while I told them all about the impressive season that Gibbs had been having and how fun he is to watch.

Almost on cue, Gibbs responded by turning in an amazing half, in which he rushed for nearly 200 yards with all three of Owen’s touchdowns.

We watched Bricen Fowler run one of those plays where he motions before the snap and takes the ball from DeMarcus Harper and comes around the end.

In between bites of fajitas, I turned to my grandfather and told him Fowler is fast and will run away from the defense if he makes the first guy miss with a quick move.

When Owen head coach Nathan Padgett was being interviewed before the game, I told everyone in the room what a nice guy he is.

I’m positive everyone picked up on just how excited I was to see Owen on TV.

The game may have ended with a loss for Owen, but that didn’t dampen my spirits too much. What did stand out to me was just how fun watching local, high school football on television is.

A third quarter interception by DeMarcus Harper didn’t really register with me, because it was happening live. But with the replay showing up on screen seconds later, it was easy to see the senior reach back against his momentum and pull in the pick with one hand.

A win would have likely made the occasion more enjoyable for seniors like Harper, Dexter Andrews and Fowler, who all played hard. But this is a young team with a talented core whose best football is ahead.

As a matter of fact, I need to start planning another family dinner for the next time that the Warhorses are on TV.