January 23, 2014 --
As the sun began to fade into the horizon Jan. 23, so did the hopes of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Intramural Flag Football season champions, Barbwire.
Barbwire hoped to pull off another win against the Immortals during the final game of the base flag football tournament.
The Immortals, 8-2 in the regular season and considered the underdogs, battled Barbwire, 9-1, to take home the tournament victory, 12-7, at Crouch Field.
Barbwire beat the Immortals twice during the regular season. Each time the teams met, the close games kept everyone on the edge of their seats, according to players from both teams.
In spite of Barbwire’s wins, a tournament was proposed and put to a vote.
“We could have voted not to play the tournament and just ended the season with Barbwire being on top,” Vernon Ellis, Barbwire’s wide receiver, said. “But I feel everybody didn’t really want the season to end, (especially) for those like myself (who) love playing football.”
Resembling the close scoring games played in the regular season, this game did not disappoint spectators.
The game’s first half started off slow for both teams; however, Barbwire was the first to attack.
Barbwire’s quarterback Daryl Walker ran the ball 11 yards for a touchdown. Barbwire connected on a point after touchdown conversion, taking the lead 7-0.
With 1:34 left in the first half, the Immortals rallied back scoring a touchdown. The Immortals attempted a PAT, but were unsuccessful, ending the first half, 7-6.
Barbwire received the football to start the second half. Grinding back and forth for 15 minutes, Immortals turned the ball over to Barbwire, who pushed its way down to the 35-yard line.
On Barbwire’s next possession, Walker connected on a 13-yard pass to Ellis, who was down at the 22-yard line. With 2 yards to go for a first down, Walker ran the football 4 yards before being called down at the 18-yard line. After a penalty on the Immortals and an incomplete pass, Immortal’s quarterback and team captain Travis Jones intercepted Walker in the end zone.
With 1:40 left in the game, Immortal’s Jones ran out of bounds at the 10-yard line. The Barbwire defense blitzed Jones, who threw a short pass to Immortal’s Travis Phillips, at the 2-yard line.
After a time out by Barbwire, an Immortal offensive lineman jumped offside and the team was penalized five yards, backing them up to the 7-yard line.
Following the penalty, Jones ran 7 yards for a touchdown. The Immortals couldn’t convert their PAT, making the score 12-7.
With 39 seconds remaining in the game, Barbwire got the football back. After two incomplete passes and with 33 seconds left, Walker ran the football to the 35-yard line.
In what was thought to be the last play of the game for Barbwire, Walker threw an incomplete pass into the end zone; however, a penalty flag was thrown because of the Immortals illegal formation.
With no time left on the clock and one more chance to take home the tournament victory, Walker threw a desperation pass that was intercepted by Immortals’ Phillips, ending the game 12-7.
“I want to congratulate the Immortals because they played an excellent football game,” Kenneth Barber, Barbwire’s team captain, said. “In each game we played against them, it was always a close match. Even though we beat those guys twice during the season, the better team won tonight.”
As for the game’s results, Barber believed it came down to the Immortal’s players, who minimized mistakes and reduced his team’s big-play ability.
“We uncharacteristically made more mistakes and failed to limit their big plays,” he said. “Losing always stings a bit, but this loss is painful considering the magnitude.”
Jones said the Immortals showed great perseverance throughout the game.
“We didn’t give up even when the odds were against us,” Jones said. “This game was proof that it’s not about how many times you get knocked down in life, it’s about how many times you get back up and correct whatever it was that caused you to fall in the first place.”