Two simple things will help you go far in life: a positive attitude and a cooler full of snacks.
And it sure doesn’t hurt to be a Husker fan.
All three elements were in full effect last Friday night as those of us who make up the West Coast branch of Big Red Fury took a little road trip from Los Angeles out to the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley to catch Calabasas High’s season opener against their cross freeway rivals Agoura High.
The Pacific Coast Highway is no I-80 but it will have to do.
There’s no denying that the Calabraska hype is real and we were curious to see for ourselves just how real it was. We’re pleased to report that it is very real and very well deserved. The players, coaches, parents, and fans who make up the Calabasas High football program have built something very special. This is the kind of school Husker Nation should be proud to have a connection with and the feeling is mutual in Calabasas. Folks are very impressed and optimistic about what is happening in Lincoln.
On that note, we should mention that we went as fans and most certainly weren’t on a mission to dig up any dirt or add a NCAA recruiting violation to our list of achievements, everything about field our trip was on the up and up. We were simply out to watch a game and have a good time under the Friday night lights.
And that good time started like this…
Twenty minutes later, we were taking a selfie with the first of several new friends.
Take it away, Leslie.
The most interesting thing about tailgating a high school football game is tailgating a high school football game.
Leslie gets in some reps before she heads to Lincoln for the season opener.
I’m going to need this to be a thing that people around the country openly accept and embrace. JV games stink and there is no denying it. So why not fire up the grill and watch from what was called the “sky box” overlooking Frank Greminger Stadium at Agoura High. Very exclusive stuff happens here in Southern California. However, not everybody showed up on Friday (hey Husker fans, where were you?), but the important people were there.
— Keyshawn Johnson (@keyshawn) August 27, 2016
And guys, he did come up to us and ask for a picture. I just wanted to tell you that because: 1) I hate asking people for pictures, that’s a rookie move, act like you hang out with celebrities all the time and 2) I just wanted to tell you that Keyshawn Johnson asked for a picture with me.
It was a pretty awesome night. Seeing Tristan Gebbia connect with Keyshawn Jr. for the first touchdown of the season was cool if you like to think about those guys playing in Memorial Stadium. (I do).
There were some other pretty good players, I really liked this guy named Darnay Holmes. A WR and CB. I think he might have a bright future ahead of him. Hell, Nebraska might even start to recruit him. That could be fun.
Anyway, after a ton of penalties, two interceptions, and shaking off some first game rust, Calabasas ran away with the game 46-28. It wasn’t even close. None of the starters even played the 4th quarter which gave me time to enjoy a couple more wings and ask around about this new Darnay kid.
OK, Todd. Now it’s your turn to impress everyone.
Well, Leslie, since it’s going to be hard to top your sarcasm I’ll lead with this photo I took of that “Darnay kid” sharing a laugh with Tristan on the sidelines in the fourth quarter.
Tristan Gebbia’s final stat line after three quarters of work: 23 for 31 and 320 yards. Meanwhile, Darnay Holmes scored touchdowns on three of his seven catches, totaling 119 yards, and was voted the game’s MVP.
What you don’t see in this photo is me standing in the eye of the hurricane that was the Calabasas student section. Those kids brought the energy for four quarters and still were polite enough to not heckle the old guy who wandered into their turf. A good bunch of kids they were.
The same held true for the parents in attendance. Watching the game with a couple of retired NFL stars was a treat. Getting a glimpse of how differently they see a football game was mind blowing. As soon as the players lined up over the ball, they knew exactly how things were going to play out. And on top of that, they were some of the chillest sports parents I’ve ever seen. Keyshawn Sr. and Darick Holmes could post up at a youth soccer complex and charge good money for lessons in how to remain calm and relaxed while your kid is on the field. It was really nice to see.
As far as the Calabasas squad goes, they’re going to be a tough team to beat. Once Gebbia worked out the first quarter kinks, he was money. He’s going to have a lot of fun this year throwing to Keyshawn Jr. and Darnay. Defenses are going to be bummed trying to cover those two.
From start to finish, this was a great experience. The Calabasas fans showed the same enthusiasm and gracious hospitality that Husker fans are known for. Seriously, it was like walking into an alternate dimension of awesome. If you get a chance, you should definitely check out a game. You can see the full Calabasas schedule here.
We’ll definitely be back for some more Coyote Football. That’s for sure.