December 11, 2012 in Sports

Epic comeback hardly an issue for EWU players

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Sam Houston State’s Travis Tobaben, right, hugs Lance Garner, left, after Garner kicked the game-winning extra point to beat Eastern Washington 35-34 following a touchdown as time expired in a quarterfinal NCAA Division I-AA playoff game on Dec. 4, 2004, in Cheney, Wash.
(Full-size photo)

Remember 2004?

You know, the big comeback that year by Sam Houston State to beat Eastern Washington in the playoffs?

The Eagles don’t either, which led to some interesting interviews before Tuesday’s practice at Roos Field.

Eight years ago, Eastern blew a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose an FCS quarterfinal game to the very same school they’ll play on Saturday.

Dec. 5, 2004 in Cheney. Sam Houston State 35, Eastern Washington 34.

Payback time. The score is probably plastered on every locker, right, Bo Schuetzle?

The Eagle cornerback looked into two television cameras and blinked.

“Uh, I haven’t really heard much about that yet,” Schuetzle said apologetically.

No problem, a TV reporter reassured him. Schuetzle must be too busy with finals to know what every other player must by now.

Next up was quarterback and native Texan Kyle Padron, who probably forgot all about the Alamo when he heard about that game in 2004.

“No, sir, I don’t,” Padron said.

Clearly this was a generational issue. Twitter wasn’t even around in 2004, so how would they know?

Finally it was time for head coach Beau Baldwin to put this whole thing in perspective and save the story line. He warmed to the subject.

“It might be one of the worst games I’ve gone through,” said Baldwin, who was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator that year under Paul Wulff.

“It was bitter, it was nasty, but I give (Sam Houston) credit, they made plays in the fourth quarter.”

Finally the hot button had been pushed. Baldwin probably has the pregame speech already written, a player from 2004 handpicked for the occasion. Right?

Nope.

“I guess I’m kind of with the players on that one,” said Baldwin.

Some Eagle fans probably remember and want some payback, Baldwin speculated, but then he put himself in the shoes of his current players, most of whom are on the other side of 20.

“Payback for what? I was in the third grade.”

Notes

Fresh from watching film, the Eastern players on both sides of the ball said they were impressed with Sam Houston State’s athleticism. “They have some big-time playmakers, and execute their stuff,” said Eagle linebacker Grant Williams. “You can tell they have some great team speed.” … With starting cornerback T.J. Lee III listed as questionable with a lower back strain, backup Schuetzle may see more action. “We’ll have to play faster than they do,” Schuetzle said. … Special teams coach Jeff Schmedding said the Eagles’ two big kickoff returns last week against Illinois State were hard-earned. “I think the kids, we got challenged the last couple of weeks… so they stepped it up in a real physical game and did their job,” Schmedding said. … Tickets for Saturday’s game are on sale. For fans who agreed to purchase tickets to all three playoff games, the cost is $20 for premium seating in sections C and D, $15 for sections A, B, E and F, $15 for end zone and $10 for east-side seating (behind the visitor’s bench). The cost is $5 more per ticket for first-time buyers. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketswest.com or 1-800-325-Seat.

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