It has been two weeks since the finale of HBO’s R-rated Riverdale knock-off, Euphoria, aired to glowing reviews. Everyone wants to talk about how the show found its earnest heart, and whether Jules will come back, and how all the teens may be doomed by sexting and drugs, but no one wants to talk about how East Highland’s football team is a big bag of trash.
In the finale, we learn that heading into the last game of the regular season the football team needs “a W” to head to regionals. These are regular football stakes. In fact, the entire sequence of football clips in Euphoria’s Season 1 finale is just goth Friday Night Lights. But we are led to believe that the team’s luck may be changing because their quarterback has returned.
“Nate Jacobs is going to unify this ball club,” the TV announcers (?) of this high-school football game proclaim right after declaring that the team has been “struggling.” Here are some things that make Nate Jacobs a good quarterback: he is tall (6-foot-4), he is very in shape, and he has a chip on his shoulder so large it is amazing he can throw the ball at all without it stabbing him in the face.
Presumably, the team has been in bad shape because Nate Jacobs was suspended from school. Why was he suspended, you ask? Oh, because he choked his cheerleader girlfriend Maddy so badly that she had his handprints bruised onto her neck and only managed to sneak his way out of trouble by framing a perfectly innocent man for rape and demanding he confess to the abuse while planting a witness who he was blackmailing.
Should Nate go to prison probably forever and never be allowed to talk to women again? Almost certainly. But that is not what we are here to talk about. What we are talking about is how the East Highland football team is awful to watch.
After playing who knows what kind of game, our bad boy’s team is down 23-27 with 1:30 seconds to go. They need a touchdown to win, but they also have plenty of time to engineer a cohesive drive. So what does East Highland do? They throw three very long passes which the announcers deem “perfect.” Let’s look at them:
This ball is both under-thrown and well outside of the receiver’s stride.
This pass is an over-throw! “Perfect passes” do not require a receiver to desperately reach out for the ball with one hand. Perhaps the receivers should have caught at least one of these balls, but our boy Nate Jacobs isn’t doing them any favors.
If we are going to give East Highland the benefit of the doubt we could say that their problem might be that they lost a star (rather short) wide receiver named Chris McKay, who graduated to ride the bench in Division I, and then just never adjusted their coaching strategy. Where’s the running game? Why not look to the flat to establish a rhythm early in the drive? Does this team even practice two-minute drills?
The only reason Euphoria’s high school won this game is because the team they were playing is even more terrible than they are. On Nate Jones’s “incredible” game-winning run, the opponents missed not one but two fairly easy tackles. Here are those:
What do we call this run, friends and fans? Trash ball-handling. Look at his arm just swinging free for someone to pop the ball right out of it. Nobody in the history of good football has ever held the pig skin like this.
“You won the game, but you lost the team.” Nate’s (also bad) dad tells him after the game. But as a life-long high school football fan and Texan I am here to tell you: this team was lost to begin with.