Joe Dyton

Friday Night Lights recap: “Underdogs”

In Friday Night Lights on January 9, 2009 at 3:45 am

Hello Dillon Panther fans! Last night we to see what we’ve been looking forward to all season, the State Championship game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the ending we were looking for. Wow, what a heartbreaker of a game. Well, the Brooklyn Dodgers said it best, wait ‘til next year.

 

Off the gridiron, the Taylors did what they thought was best regarding the McCoy Family, Lyla reluctantly moved back in with her dad, Matt saw some light at the end of the tunnel otherwise known as searching for colleges and Tyra and Landry came through for one another in major ways. Here’s how it happened….

 

The Game

 

Usually, I save the game paragraph for last, but why bury the lead?  I thought for sure that after getting knocked out of the playoffs last year, Dillon would rebound and win the title this season. What a great plot twist to have them lose on a last second field goal. I was concerned when they were down 27-0 at halftime because I thought we were going the game play out the same way the title game did in Season One. You know, big halftime deficit, which they over come punctuated by a last second game-winning touchdown. I believe in the Season One title game, they were down 26-0 at halftime.

 

I hated to see the Panthers lose, but I was glad that we were given a less predictable ending. I mean, a 27-0 deficit screamed for a 28-27 come-from-behind win. But when Dillon scored the go-ahead TD with about a minute and a half left, I thought to myself, “Wow, they’re actually going to have to defend a lead.” And as South Texas booted that field goal at the gun, I was rooting for the ball to sail wide, but alas it split the uprights and Dillon is now in a two-year title drought.

 

My favorite part of the game was that Saracen got to go back to playing quarterback. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live in Dillon, because would have been one of the few who thought he should have kept the job in the first place. I was stunned when coach Taylor took the job away from Matt, a senior who led the team to a state title, and gave it away to a freshman who while talented, hadn’t proved anything yet. When J.D. was throwing the game away (more on him in a second), I kept thinking to myself, “Put Saracen in, Coach!” I cheered when he did, and what do you know, the grizzled veteran led Dillon to an improbable comeback. If only the defense could have held on for another 90 seconds.

 

I also loved coach Taylor’s postgame speech, and the fact that he asked the players’ family and friends to be there when he addressed the team. I’m not sure the crazed town of Dillon will be so pleased with the loss, but his words were touching. Speaking of touching, I liked Riggins’ last moment; leaving his cleats on the field.

 

As for J.D., could he have picked a worse game to melt down in? Holy cow he was bad. I know he had other stuff on his mind, but he couldn’t get out of his own way. I found it interesting that he kept yelling at his offensive line (never a good idea for a QB to do that) to “protect” him. He kept using that word, “protect.” It sounded like a cry for help from what was going on in his home life. I’m probably just reading too much into it, but I just thought his choice of words was noteworthy. Speaking of the McCoys….

 

The Taylors vs. The McCoys

 

As tough as a choice as it was for Eric and Tami, they had to report Joe to the authorities. He whaled on his son for crying out loud. Who know how much worse it would have been if Eric didn’t run out there to break it up? It’s just too bad that all this had to happen before the biggest game of J.D.’s life (so far). Although the Taylors made the right decision, I thought the McCoys reactions to the Taylors was pretty realistic and honest. Obviously what Joe did was wrong, but they would have preferred to have kept the matter in-house.

 

While I enjoyed Katie’s tongue-lashing towards Tami, I really, really liked Joe and Eric’s confrontation. I just liked his ice cold demeanor when he was talking to Eric while the team was boarding the bus. Even with the sunshades on, you could tell Joe’s eyes were burning. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the season finale. I have a feeling it’s not over. Especially since Eric lost the big game and Joe’s one of the team’s biggest boosters. And if Eric does survive the chopping block, he and J.D. have three more years together. Interesting times…

 

The Saracens

 

So Matt likes to draw, who knew? Maybe everyone did, and I just hadn’t been paying attention. It was great to see one these players find an avenue to college that didn’t involve football. It’s too bad he has to move so far away (Chicago), since he’s got a good thing going with Julie (she looked heartbroken when they were looking at his sketches) and his grandmother will be lost without him. I love Grandma Saracen, but I was disappointed in how selfish she was towards Matt. I know he’s been her saving grace, but she had to know he was going to leave eventually. I was happy she came around at the end and realized she couldn’t and wouldn’t hold him back from doing something that made him happy. I thought it was a great and touching moment when Julie realized the same thing at the same time and they grasped each other’s hand. The little nuances like that are what make “Friday Night Lights” such a good show.

 

The Garritys

 

Not much to say here except Lyla’s moving back in with Buddy and it looks like she’s going to San Antonio State with Riggins. I’m sure Buddy doesn’t like that, but he’s got no one to blame but himself. If he hadn’t squandered her college fund, she’d be far away from Tim at Vanderbilt. I was happy that Lyla decided to forgive her dad, but I feel the only reason she did it was because she didn’t want to live at the Riggins’ house anymore. I was surprised she lasted in that frat house as long as she did. What a hilarious scene it was when Billy walked in on Lyla using the bathroom. I honestly thought he said he’d go in the sink to prove how badly he had to go, but nope, he went in the sink. I hope no one washes any dishes in there anytime soon. I also got a kick out of Lyla using coffee filters as a toilet seat cover.

 

Tyra and Landry

 

And finally we get to one of TV’s most unlikely, but most adored couples. Landry, forever loyal to Tyra was helping her with her college essay, which from the sounds of it really needed some help. But after several tries and finally opening up about what makes her tick, Tyra came up with one heck of an essay. It was phenomenal actually. I was surprised that the initial reason she changed her outlook on life was because of what happened to Jason Street. She’s right though, bad things happen to everyone.

 

So, in exchange for helping Tyra with her college essay, she gave Landry a ride to the championship game. It seems Landry had a little too much to drink at the party the night before. Honestly, I didn’t buy this at all. Landry learns he’s actually going to play in the state finals, and he decides to get drunk the night before? Way out of character for him, even if he was bummed that Tyra wasn’t going to make the game. And what about his teammates? None of them thought to get him home? That was my only nitpick of the show. Otherwise, I though the episode was very good. Anyway, back to Landry and Tyra. It was great to see them help each other out; Tyra owes Landry a ton of favors, so it made sense that he cash one of them in for a ride to Austin. And it looks like they’re going to get back together from that smooch. I guess time will tell.

 

So, what did you all think of the show? Did you like that the writers switched gears and had the Panthers lose the big game? Do you think Coach will be able to hold on to his job? Who’s going and who’s staying after graduation. Feel free to comment below!

 

Joe Dyton can be reached at thedytonian@yahoo.com.

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  1. I love everything about this show, and last night’s episode did have a surprising twist. I thought the ending was going to be like season one, and although I hated to see them lose, for the sake of the show I was glad to see something different. You are right about all the different story lines, it really makes the show interesting to watch, even for non-football fans. I really hate that we only get a half-season, and now must wait to see if the show will be back for another year. It is one of my favorite shows ever!

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