It's the kind of compliment every football coach would like to give to his team, the one that Dan Bourdon gave his Analy football team Saturday night. It's the kind of compliment that admits error, imperfection, mistakes that make you want to grab a chunk of hair out of your scalp in frustration. It's the kind of a half-muted compliment that reflected this dichotomy: Analy not only handled whatever Tamalpais threw at the Tigers, Analy also handled the stuff the Tigers threw at themselves.
It was almost as if Analy beat two opponents in the first round of the 2012 Division III NCS playoffs Saturday night.
You have to be pretty good to do that.
"We rebounded in the second half," Bourdon said. "We had stretches this year where we didn't play our best football."
And then came his compliment.
"Not playing our best, well, we have to clean that up," the coach said, "but we also won impressively."
Yes, it's nice to be this good: To commit nine penalties, to have your quarterback sacked three times before the game barely makes it into the second quarter and then to win going away, 35-7, to where there's a running clock for the last 9:55. In a playoff game, by the way.
The 2012 Tigers, the first Analy team to go 10-0, is now the first to go 11-0. And just as the first half bore little resemblance to the team that averaged 51 points a game — a 13-0 lead was all it was — the second half on the other hand was more familiar and much more common. Analy quarterback Darin Newman wasn't running for his life.
Settling in with a line that now was blocking for him, Newman finished the game completing 15 of 23 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns. And you would think throwing for four scores and 280 yards would make Newman the player of the game. Nope. Not this game. For when the Analy offense fluttered and sputtered in the first half, its defense was more than stellar. The Tigers forced six turnovers, five interceptions and a fumble. At the half, the Analy defense had allowed only 24 yards. Analy's defense gave its offense time to breathe, exhale and find its rhythm.