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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Commentary: Every second counts

Junior+WR+Jalen+Preston+%285%29+in+the+end+zone+after+scoring+a+touchdown+in+the+4th+quarter+in+the+game+against+LSU+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+26%2C+2021.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior WR Jalen Preston (5) in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the 4th quarter in the game against LSU on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2021.

From the high of a ball flying through the goal post at the last second, to the low of mere three-point loss following powerful second-half play, Texas A&M football ended its regular season in underwhelming style at Tiger Stadium, “Death Valley,” in Baton Rouge, La. 

Though a loss to LSU is perhaps not what the team or fans were hoping for, the 2021-2022 season has certainly made its mark in A&M football history. The Aggies are now well-poised for a competitive bowl game, but it’s worth considering the moments that defined this season. 

Flashing back to August, it’s dubious any sports guru would have seen a young sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada rise to start in 10 games, the perennial A&M underdogs pulling out a win over an 18-time national champion and players like junior wide receiver Jalen Preston, freshman wide receiver Moose Muhammed III and sophomore defensive back Antonio Johnson making their athletic offerings clear. 

This season could have been a double-down on loss for the maroon and white, considering the departure of Kellen Mond, the Maroon Goons and the surprise loss of Haynes King, but instead led to a team forged by fire, who has taken each new challenge in stride — regardless of outcome.

Calzada, in spite of early nay-sayers, has proved his value as a player, with a cannon of an arm and extreme amounts of coach Jimbo Fisher’s favorite quality, mental toughness. Fans being skeptical is a bit of an understatement to the Aggies’ reception to the quarterback, who has now led the team to a certain 41-38 victory, showing Terminator-like resilience. 

Even less likely would have been the predictions of a scrappy, not-so-glamorous bird claiming the hearts of current students and a new tradition of dressing up as every Aggie’s favorite rag

Though not a serious take-away of the season, the Gig ‘Em grackle, war grackle or simply the Kyle Field bird, is in a way, a perfect embodiment of the season as a whole. Unassuming, not conventionally attractive, but tough and fearless, perhaps to a fault. While the bird may become a meme of days past, this season should be a point of pride for Aggie football, and Fisher himself. 

Even traditions that have amazed for over a century, namely the nationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, have stepped up their game to new heights, reviving old formations while also forging a new, exciting path for all to enjoy. 

The team’s biggest lesson this year: every second counts. These seconds have been momentous for the Aggies — see Alabama — but also devastating, like the season finale against LSU. Regardless, this group has shown time again that they have what it takes, and should continue to celebrate their individuals and collective accomplishments.

The critical nature of the last second is well-embodied by kicker Seth Small, and his level-headedness in the Alabama game, but also has been seen through the performances of many of his teammates. 

Graduate defensive lineman Micheal Clemons, for one, showing his defensive prowess with three sacks in the last quarter of the season. 

Junior running back Isaiah Spiller, consistently pulling through, making the critical runs that move at unrealistic speeds at the end of first, second, third and fourth quarters across the season. 

Aggressive defenders like junior defensive back Demani Richardson stay in hot pursuit of opponents, even when they are well-covered by his teammates. 

The young Preston even took the final moments in stride, scoring not only his first, but also his second, touchdown in the closing match. 

These players, and many more, have shown the Aggie family how these small seconds, slight decisions and changes in focus, can have massive repercussions, for better or worse. 

To the 2021-2022 Texas A&M football team, thank you for beating the ever-living, ever-loving, fightin’ Texas Aggie hell out of every moment this season.

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