Daily Illini Thursday, November 30, 1972
End of a Great Team for champion ATO
By Joe Haughney
Daily Illini Sports Writer
“It was like gravy on the potatoes”, said ATO quarterback Doug Mayoras, after he cooly maneuvered his team to the University championship.
“We really didn’t care about this game, all we wanted was the blue championship. Anything after that was just extra gravy,” Mayoras said.
ATO defensive back Scott Gold felt the same way. “We just weren’t as psyched for this game as we were for the Fiji game,” he said. “But after the interception on the first play and the sight of the big crowd really, we got excited in a hurry.”
“They didn’t use their linemen as receivers. Usually their outside man would go deep while the inside man went short. We simply adjusted our coverage,” Roger Haines said.
Mayoras had his own thoughts about Fat City. “They were really overrated. We expected a much tighter game.”
The game does end a great chapter of ATO football. For many seniors it was their last game. Besides Mayoras, Gold and Haines, a partial list of the seniors includes Steve Stratton, Jerry Kurasek, Tom Hough, Denny Knell and Bruce Horvitz.
With a cigarette in his hand on the sidelines, Haines said. “I guess I can break training rules in my last game.” On the next series of downs, he went in to intercept the final Fat City pass of the game.
“That’s the ATO formula: have fun, but be tough on the field.”
“After reading about these games, it brought back memories of an ordinary league game against Sigma Chi, that never was written about. It was probably our worst half we ever played and the greatest second half we ever played.
Ranked #1 everyone was gunning for us and we were definitely cocky! Sig Chi takes an 18-0 half time lead over us. We could not move the ball, our short game stumbled, had an interception and half time looked bleak and Sig Chi was starting to celebrate, talking about going to Kams, etc.
So Stratton and I look at each other and said lets go to the long game. The first series, it was third down, still struggling, and called the ole ‘Z’ out to Stratt who was double covered, and somehow caught the desperately thrown ball, diving, catching one handed splitting the defenders and the Taus were rolling with the 40 yard completion. We scored the next play.
The defense comes through with a tip ball and the Hawk picks it off. Next play was Randy Cordova on a fly and the speed was too much for them and 50 yard TD. It still gets better. Remember we are down 18- 12 and the half’s were pretty short, time was running out. The D holds and we have the ball again. This time it was Tommie Hough who rotated with Randy at wide out and we send him on a fly, but broke it off with a ‘Z’ out at 30 yards, scoring easily and the game is now tide and going to overtime.
Each team gets the ball 4 times to push it past the fifty and scoring in OT is difficult. The first play we call ,was one Stratt and I dreamed up on the Bar in the coal bin, probably after too much drink. It was the ole fake the middle run and throw a double pass. We had never really practiced it, it was like the classic sandlot play. After warning the ref to not be whistle happy, just watch, I run the middle stop at the line, lateral toss it to Stratt 15 yards at wide out,who had stepped back drawing the whole Sig Chi defense over to him and Kirko and I just keep going waiting for Stratt to throw the ball back to me half way to the goal line, Kirko and I running alone and it was TD time again!
The Taus were back! I will never forget the look on the Sig Chi sideline running by the long faces with ball in hand, taunting just a little and strutting it. We pulled it out of our ass!
We often remember the one’s that get away but this game was our greatest game! “
Douglas A. “Ape” Mayoras 1973
March 5, 2013