Marine Barracks Washington --
Marine Barracks Washington Headquarters and Service Company’s flag-football team defeated Marine Corps Institute Company’s team in the Barracks intramural championship Dec. 21.
The two teams played a hard-fought game in the rain, but Team H&S came away with the trophy this year, winning 20-12. This was the first time in more than five years H&S beat the other companies for the championship.
Thomas Shields, Team H&S kicker and quarterback, kicked off the ball to Team MCI. Their first drive of the game would set the tone for the rest of the first half. Three straight incomplete passes led to the first of many punts for Team MCI.
Team H&S also didn’t put any points on the board when they got the ball, but they let Brandon Mitchell, H&S quarterback and cornerback, loose. Three times during their drive, Mitchell was pressured by defensive linemen and linebackers, and three times he scrambled away and gained yards by rushing or passing downfield.
The next drive, Team MCI unleashed one of their own weapons. The red jerseys found themselves in the red-zone thanks to the Peyton Manning-like presence of Alfredo Saenz, MCI quarterback.
Saenz hit his receivers on the numbers almost every play during their drive, showing off his throwing abilities. He floated a couple toward the sideline and he zipped a couple between the hash-marks. But when the pressure was on and they could smell the end-zone, he sailed a pass deep in the right corner, a mistake that proved costly.
A yellow number 32 jersey sprinted from the other pylon and leapt in front of the receiver to intercept the pass. Alvin Neveaux saved the would-be touchdown and kept the score even, 0-0.
The play was disappointing, but Saenz and his team didn’t lose hope, there was a lot more time on the clock, and they proved it when they got the ball back.
"I was ready to get back out there and score," said Saenz. "I was ready to do whatever it took for the team to win."
This time, around the 30-yard line, Saenz took another shot towards the far right of the end-zone, and yet again, a yellow jersey sprinted from across the field and got his hands on the ball while in mid-air. However, Mitchell’s decision to go for the interception instead of batting it down would cost them the lead. The ball bounced off of his hands and landed softly in the welcoming arms of Sadiqq Abdullah, MCI receiver.
Team MCI’s six point lead fueled Team H&S’s motivational fire, forcing them to bring out the specialty plays on the next drive.
Four plays after the kick return, Shields beamed a pass to Mitchell in a designed wide receiver screen. Mitchell made the catch, juked past defenders, and sprinted 60 yards into the end-zone.
Team MCI’s first possession of the second half was surprising. One of the biggest Marines on the field, offensive lineman Christopher Brown, caught a botched pass and barreled 50 yards down the sideline.
"I was sprinting on full throttle out there," said Brown. "It was worth it though because it set up [Christopher] Adams’ 9-yard touchdown catch."
With Team MCI up by six points, the yellow jerseys would call Mitchell’s number once again and he wasn’t about to let them down.
Mitchell took over at their 30-yard line with about four minutes left in the second half. A few short passes and scrambles later, Mitchell sailed a perfectly placed 15-yard pass over the middle of the field, intended for David Wells. Wells caught it in stride and rushed 40 yards up the field and into the end-zone. Mitchell completed the two-point conversion pass to Christopher Madden, H&S wide receiver and safety.
Down by two points and time winding down, MCI couldn’t come away with any points on the drive and turned the ball over on downs.
With Mitchell’s arm already warmed up and his confidence soaring, it didn’t look difficult for him to bomb another deep touchdown, this time to Neveaux, to seal H&S victory with under a minute left in the game.
H&S can now claim themselves champions of the Barracks intramural flag-football league, something they couldn’t do last year.
"It was a competitive game, both teams fought hard," said Edwards. "After all the hard work we put in that game and the season itself, it feels good to come away with the win and the championship."