MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
The Marine Corps Community Services Intramural Sports Program’s flag football championship game was Dec. 16, 2013, at Butler Stadium. The Nighthawks of Marine Helicopter Squadron One, undefeated in the playoffs, faced the Demons of Headquarters and Service Battalion, for the second time in the playoffs.
The Demons had lost to the Nighthawks in the second round of the playoffs but fought their way back to the championship game.
The game began at 7 p.m. with the kick-off from the Demons that began a back-and-forth battle that was scoreless in the first half. Both teams threw at least one interception but neither could make an offensive drive that made it within 20 yards of the goal line.
At the half, steam rose from the player’s huddles as they discussed the game plan for the next half. Both teams were intent on moving the ball down the field while staying strong on defense.
No one scored until the last 10 minutes of the game when the Demons kicked a field goal. Shortly after that, the Nighthawks answered with a field goal of their own.
With the game tied at the end of regulation, the cold night dragged on into overtime. The Demons had the ball and, after three downs of struggle, they kicked a field goal. The Nighthawks had to score to either tie or take the win. They fought their way into field goal range and were able to kick one through the goal posts, tying the game once again.
In the second overtime, the Nighthawks started on offense and, again, worked their way into field goal range. They set it up and the ball went high and above the right goal post. The Nighthawks jumped up and yelled in excitement, thinking they had won. The reveille was short lived as the referee called the attempt no good.
The Nighthawks were outraged with the call, and after several moments, the referee started the second half of the second overtime. The Demons had the ball and all they needed to do was score to win.
After three downs of hard-fought football, the Demons set up for a field goal. The kick went wide left, moving the game into a third overtime.
The Demons started on offense and pushed forward but, after four downs, the Nighthawks took over. They pushed for three downs and, once again, set up for a field goal.
The ball was in the center of the field at the 12-yard line. Both teams lined up as Chaz Sorensen, the kicker for HMX-1, who joined the Nighthawks late in the season, walked onto the field for the fourth time in the game, and the third in overtime.
Silence ruled Butler Stadium as Sorensen approached the ball for what could be the game winning kick. All eyes watched as the ball soared through the air. The kick could be the end to a game filled with tension and conflict.
This time the ball sailed through the center of the goal posts. Sorensen ran across the field and slid on his knees in front of his team as they crowded around him.
It was over. The Nighthawks had overcome the Demons after three overtimes to take the championship.
Zachary Doty, head coach for the Nighthawks, accepted the trophy and turned to his team.
“Heart,” said Doty as he lifted the trophy over his head. “That’s what this trophy means. We never gave up and never stopped pushing. That’s why we won this game.”
As the Nighthawks lined up to receive their individual trophies, they called for Sorensen to come up front. All smiles, he got the first trophy of his team.
“I didn’t get here until late in the season,” said Sorensen. “But I was a kicker in high school and they let me play on offense and defense every now and then. It was pretty cool to kick that last one for the championship.”
A few teams had been upset over the course of the season but both the Demons and the Nighthawks vowed to play just as hard next year.