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LoyalHoo

Joined: 03/16/2004 Posts: 618
Likes: 489


One for Dex (long)


It’s Friday, September 22, 1995. You and a buddy are roaring down I-85 from Richmond to Clemson in a Chrysler compact. Slaloming between vehicles, he engages in a cross between “chicken” and “Galaga”. Geeked at the prospect of watching the Tigers choke on your “white meat” Wahoos, the possibility of imminent death eludes you. Then, you glance down at the precariously positioned Gatorade dip bottle between the front seats. You realize that should the steering wheel flinch, you and your buddy will become Palmetto state road kill, sautéed in Kodiak juice. You ask him to save it for the field. He eases off the gas.

The next morning, a drizzle has settled on Pickens County. You drive to a spot 100 feet from the stadium and park. On 18 previous visits, no one has ever witnessed a Wahoo win. The Tigers rush off the bus, slap Howard’s rock, and head down the hill in one of football’s grandest entrances. They expect the streak to continue.

As the starting lineups are announced, you notice that the Wahoos have made a change at linebacker. The injured Jamie Sharper is replaced by an undersized freshman from Lynchburg. Sticking to the formula that has worked in all the previous games, the Tigers play smash mouth football. Time after time, the Clemson backs slam into the line and time after time they slink back with tails tucked. 210 lb. Anthony Poindexter keeps hittin’ ‘em in the mouth. When the dust settles, Dex has 18 tackles and the Tigers have three points. In a memorable win, his was the most memorable performance. You know legend when you see it.

For others, Dex achieves Hoo immortality on the goal line later in the ’95 season. It’s a Thursday night when he and Adrian Burnim stop FSU’s Warrick Dunn just short of pay dirt.

In ’97 at UNC, you watch Dex block the punter’s “drop”. When the play ends, you turn to your buddy and say, “Did that really just happen? How can anyone possibly block the punter’s ball drop?” The TV replays confirm what you think you saw.

You hear the stories. There’s the one about star tailback Thomas Jones. In the first couple of weeks of practice Jones runs through the line and Dex hits him so hard that Jones is knocked out!

He is named an All American in ’97 and ’98, joining Chris Slade as the only UVA players to earn first team All American honors twice.

It’s October 24, 1998. UVA is playing N.C. State and you watch in horror as the play unfolds in some kind of surreal slow motion. As long as you live, you will remember the pile rolling up on Dex’s knee, splaying it grotesquely. When he hobbles to the sideline and slams his helmet to the ground, your heart sinks. You are deeply saddened.

Five weeks later in Blacksburg, you are sitting in the bleachers along the back of the end zone. The Hokies storm out to a 29-7 halftime lead. Perched on a pair of crutches, Dex watches the game from the sideline. You start wallowing in self pity. In that familiar defeatist mindset, you ponder, “Why is it that this always happens to UVA, but no one else?” At that precise moment, Dex makes the play for which you have been hoping. You watch as his heart, energy, and passion transform the team. Linebacker Byron Thweatt steps in front of a pass in the flats, races down the sideline, and launches himself across the goal line. Thomas Jones snags a diving TD reception. Ahmad Hawkins hauls in his memorable touchdown reception in the last two minutes. In spite of your doubt, the Wahoos have completed the largest comeback victory in school history.

It’s August of 2003. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks is the nation’s top ranked defensive player entering college. You take a seat on the aluminum bleachers beside the field. During the 2 hour practice, you watch him intently from behind your sunglasses. Dex has recently been hired as a graduate assistant. In a blocking drill with the wide receivers, Dex demonstrates the proper way to pass block. Fully padded Isaiah Ekejiuba approaches the unpadded Dex to execute a block. Low and coiled, Dex explodes into the 6’4 Ekejuiba, putting the tall Nigerian flat on his back. Assistant Coach Mike Groh turns his head, covers his mouth, and walks away. He conceals his laughter so as to avoid embarrassing the NFL bound Ekejuiba. You know that the younger Groh is as impressed with his old teammate as you are. You have come to see the new phenom yet the only thing that you remember from the day is the sequence by the coach with the bum knee.

It’s August of 2007. You are sitting on the bleachers at an open practice. As the unrelenting heat beats down, the spectators thin an hour or so into the workout. The team divides up by position and works with their respective position coach. In one particular drill, two cones are placed 2-3 yards apart on the goal line. The running back starts with the ball on the 3 yard line and a defender stands on the goal line between the cones. When the Coach blows the whistle, it is up to the running back to get the ball into the end zone and it is up to the defender to prevent him from scoring. Mano a mano!! May the best man win!! The drill is progressing until the running backs hit a lull. The backs are denied from scoring on 5 straight attempts. Dex absolutely blows a gasket!! The ensuing verbal tirade is epic!! Here you are a middle age wanna be on the verge of passing out due to dehydration. You are sitting next to Chris Long’s Mother and your decrepit butt is ready to hurdle her, tell Dex to give you the damn ball, and then run over top of Chris Long on your way across the goal line!!! While you’re at it, Chris’s old man can, “Bring his ass on out here too!” because you’re ready to truck him if he gets in the way!! ………………….

Fortunately for you this hallucination has a happy ending. Before allowing 30 seconds of courage ruin the rest of your life, you decide to head off in search of a cold Gatorade instead.

It’s October 20, 2007. A cool evening has settled on College Park, Maryland for the prime time kickoff. Emerging from the lockerroom, the eager Terps can barely be contained as they whip themselves into a frenzy. They have soundly defeated UVA in three straight matchups at College Park. As the crowd roars, the home team swarms on to the field, slapping the statue of the Terrapin as they make their entrance.

Your starting tailback is injured. In his place, a little used tailback starts. He hangs 270 yards of total offense on the Terps. That is the first impression that Mikell Simpson makes upon most of the Wahoo Nation.

As the game wears on, it is easy to see Dex’s fingerprints all over the back who refuses to go down with the initial contact. The game comes down to a last second desperation lunge on the goal line. Taking the handoff as the seconds tick down, Simpson launches himself toward the goal line with every ounce that he has left. The official’s arms go up, Ralph Friedgen’s jaw drops, and the spirits of the Wahoo Nation soar!!! Simpson has succeeded where Dunn had failed. Dex has done it again. Years of sweat, heart, and motivation crystallized in that single moment of Hoo immortality for Mikell Simpson!

Simpson’s lunge represents something else as well. It represents a sort of closure for that part of you that has always felt that fate has been cruel to the best UVA safety and perhaps the most popular Hoo of them all. From a defender stopping the opposition at the goal line back in ’95 to a Coach propelling a player across the goal line in ’07, the cycle is complete. As Dex’s story unfolds in your mind, the truth smacks you between the eyes and you are left looking at yourself in the mirror. Why is it that you are so easily thrown off stride by trivial setbacks on a daily basis? Heck, you have never had to deal with a mangled knee or the threat of permanently losing your livelihood. You wonder when the last time was that you propelled someone else across the goal line.

Sent: Jul 30, 2009 9:46 PM
Subject: Only 36 more days until Kickoff!!

Dex, do you remember the first time that you ran out of the tunnel on to the field at Scott Stadium?? Wow!! It's hard to believe that in only 36 more days, several of our kids will be creating that same enduring memory. The roar of the crowd.............the butterflies in the stomach.................... the smell in the air.................. the electricity................ nothing like it. All of your hard work to help prepare them will pay off soon and you will have played an important role in helping a dream come true for these kids. You've lifted these young men up and in many cases helped them to perform at a level they hadn't thought possible just a few months back. That's pretty darn awesome!! Wahoowa and God Bless!!

"Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another. " - Vince Lombardi

Sincerely,
LoyalHoo

Sent: Monday, August 3, 2009 11:39:10 AM
Subject: Re: Only 36 more days until Kickoff!!

LoyalHoo can't wait to see you this year!

Dex

(In response to this post by Kris)

Posted: 10/12/2021 at 5:13PM



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Current Thread:
 
  
Anthony Poindexter salute set for Saturday. -- Kris  10/12/2021 12:06PM
  No else like him. ** -- 141lile 10/15/2021 1:44PM
  I approve of this message! * ** -- dex 10/12/2021 5:59PM
  One for Dex (long) -- LoyalHoo 10/12/2021 5:13PM
  Love that guy -- rives 10/12/2021 5:02PM
  Should #3 be retired? ** -- 79 Wahoo 10/12/2021 4:27PM
  HANDS DOWN my all time favorite hoo. Not even close. ** -- Ronald Mexico 10/12/2021 1:47PM
  Double Cavalier. -- jdubforwahoowa 10/12/2021 1:51PM
  His high school has our old logo.:) -- Birddog 10/12/2021 2:17PM
  Cool. -- Birddog 10/12/2021 2:20PM
  Thank you! ** -- jdubforwahoowa 10/12/2021 2:21PM
  Bryson Spinner baby! ** -- jonybuck33 10/12/2021 1:12PM
  Keith Payne says hello ** -- jonybuck33 10/12/2021 1:11PM
  Keith Payne counted to infinity......Twice ** -- nyhoo 10/12/2021 1:12PM
  Keith Payne can divide by zero ** -- jonybuck33 10/12/2021 1:13PM
  Keith Payne wears Anthony Poindexter Underoos ** -- Guy Caballero 10/12/2021 1:18PM
  Both eat Dunkaroos. they put hair on your chest ** -- jonybuck33 10/12/2021 2:34PM
  Dex is at penn state ** -- hoosnext 10/12/2021 1:21PM
  Wow, when did that happen? -- hooman#1 10/12/2021 1:23PM
  Deleted.** -- North Cavolina 10/12/2021 12:50PM
  Awesome stuff. He was the best! ** -- Mt_P_Jay 10/12/2021 12:26PM
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