MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Dec. 10) --
Manpower and Reserve Affairs Black Ops took home their third championship after winning the final intramural league flag football game against Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 on Monday at Butler Stadium.
HMX-1’s powerhouse defense, which led them to the championships, could not save them from Black Ops’ crushing passing game and breakaway speed.
Shortly into the first quarter, Black Ops scored the first touchdown of the night and set the tone for the rest of the game.
HMX-1 started their first possession already down in points. On the next snap, Justin Topping, quarterback for HMX-1, fell back into the pocket looking for an open teammate to connect with, but had his flag snatched by a rushing Black Ops player.
Topping threw a deep pass trying to gain the first down, but it fell short of its target and forced HMX-1 to punt.
With nine minutes left in the first half, Black Ops’ rushing offense pushed toward the end zone, but suddenly HMX-1’s defense tightened up and shut down their opponent’s momentum.
Black Ops stayed aggressive and managed to push through for a fourth down touchdown, bringing the score to 12-0.
HMX-1 got the ball and showcased their previously absent north-south running. With a short pass, HMX-1 finally put points on the board bringing the score to 12-7.
Black Ops faltered slightly in the face of HMX-1’s aggression, but regained their composure.
With 40 seconds on the clock, Joe Randall, offensive captain for Black Ops, caught an arching pass for another touchdown.
HMX-1 got the ball back, but could not manage to gain enough ground to put up points. At the end of the first half, the score was Black Ops 19, HMX-1 7.
Black Ops started the second half with a successful deep pass and pushed up the field to score another touchdown.
On HMX-1’s possession, their solid rushing skills shined through, but a pass from Topping flew downfield directly into the grasp of Brian Gardner, Black Ops’ quarterback and defensive captain, for an interception.
With less than three minutes left in the game, Gardner took the ball back for a huge gain, but HMX-1 hunkered down and allowed no points on the possession.
Once he got the ball back, Topping threw long, carefully chosen passes and drove HMX-1 to the end zone for their second touchdown of the game bringing the score to 26 -15.
On the first down, putting a stop to the opponent’s momentum, Gardner launched another high arching pass to Randall for their fifth and final touchdown of the game.
Myron Edwards, Black Ops coach, attributes their victory to the leadership within the team.
“The offensive and defensive captains made all the difference,” said Edwards.
The final score of 37-15 declared Black Op’s the defending base champions three years in a row.
“Coming out and playing to win is what makes three-time champions,” Edwards said. “You can practice all you want to, but you have to come and play to win. Until somebody comes and takes it from us, it’s going to be the same thing every year.”
According to Randall, the Black Ops’ victory was a team effort and that knowing each other is what makes them a three-time champion team.
“We’ll be out here next year too,” said Randall. “And we’ll get the same result. It’ll be a four-peat.”