The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


December 5, 2012

So who’s to blame?

TARBORO — Shortly after the Tarboro Vikings lost 24-20 to the East Lincoln Mustangs in the 2A state championship game Saturday, loyal and disloyal fans began playing the blame game on why the Vikings fell.

Being a true sports fan, whether you admit it or not, you did it too. It's natural reaction. Some may have been too harsh with their critics, while others simply said  "if ..."

In most cases ifs after actual scenarios that can go on and on and on.

What if Tarboro scored on all three of its 2-point conversions, they would have won. This appears to be a legitimate "if."

So who's the blame?

Do we blame the offensive coordinator for calling the plays that failed? Do we blame the running backs and the offensive line.

What if the offensive coordinator called a different play. Would the Vikings scored on all three 2-point conversions? What if the running backs were 30 pounds heavier or two seconds faster, would they scored the conversions?

So who's the blame?

What if Tarboro had went for the 4th-down-1 inside the Mustangs' 50-yard line with more than 10 minutes left in the game instead of punting the ball.

Would Tarboro had gotten the first down? After getting the first down, would they have scored a touchdown? After getting the first down, would the Mustangs hold the Vikings and force them to punt?

So who's the blame?

Do we blame Vikings head Coach Jeff Craddock for making a decisive decision to punt the ball. Remember, in the third quarter he chose to punt the ball near the same position of the field and the punter pinned the Mustangs on their 1-yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings' defense recorded a safety.

So, who do we blame?

What if Tarboro had not lost four fumbles?

Do we blame the loss on the four fumbles that the Mustangs recovered? As critical as they were, the Vikings defense held on each of the fumbles and did not allow the Mustangs to score.

So who do we blame?

What if 200 more Tarboro spectators would have attended the game?

Do we blame the spectators who just maybe could have yelled just a few decibel louder so that the Mustangs couldn't hear there plays and caused some confusion that would have turned the tide during their winning drive? Or the spectator who failed to give the players encouraging words before the game that may have given them a much needed spark?

So who's the blame?

Do we blame the Vikings for reaching the endzone twice and not scoring or should we point the fingers at the Mustang's defense who had the wherewithal to force the fumble.

So who's the blame?

If you are looking to point fingers, there is plenty of blame to go around.

I blame the Mustangs. To be a champion you have to beat a champion and the Mustangs did just that.

The pain of losing Saturday brought out the blame game. To ease the pain fans, players and coaches pointed their fingers at particular moments in the game. For many, the fingers will point to different subjects as reality sets in. Then reasonable thinking will bring to mind that the Vikings are 72-6 over the last five years and they advanced to the state championship game each of those years.

Hmmm. So who's the blame for that outstanding feat?


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