USARAF flag football team dominates season
October 24, 2013
For the second year in a row, U.S. Army Africa's flag football team comes out victorious during the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza championship playoffs Oct. 19. With a 14-1 record, USARAF will be the top-seeded team from Vicenza heading to Germany for the Installation Management Command-Europe flag football championship.
With this win, USARAF sealed the deal for bragging rights as the dominating force of competitive sports on Caserma Ederle as it has also taken top honors in basketball, volleyball and won this year's IMCOM softball IMCOM championship.
Austin Johnson, defensive lineman, said he was pleased with the turnout of players this year so USARAF did not have to use the same players on both offense and defense.
"I remember last season playing a game six on seven because we did not have enough people to fill out a roster," said Johnson, a St. Paul, Minn. native.
Johnson said he is committed to uphold USARAF's reputation as the best team in Vicenza
"When you're number one, everyone picks it up, so we know we beat everyone's best efforts," Johnson said. "This win means I cannot retire from flag football as planned. Unlike John Elway and Ray Lewis, I feel it is my obligation to defend the title."
Grant Sullivan, receiver and linebacker, said he enjoyed the camaraderie both on and off field.
"I've been a member of a team my whole life, that's why I joined the Army," said Sullivan, a Del Mar, Calif. native. "Army intramural sports is a great way to continue to play competitive sports and develop friendships. There is no rank on the football field."
In addition to developing personal relationships, Sullivan said he is proud to be part of a team with Soldiers committed to sportsmanship and winning.
"We are programmed to win. Our work ethic as Soldiers carries onto the grid iron. We developed a reputation that you are in for a battle when you play USARAF," Sullivan said.
Sullivan relates the win to coming together as a team.
"Significant injuries throughout the season didn't affect us. We adapted and executed our coach's game plans. We had fun and we will have life long memories of this season," Sullivan said.
As the team prepares to head to Germany for the playoffs, they can enjoy another year of bragging rights with their second trophy. Along with this, Johnson said he will enjoy knowing that POGs (person other than grunts) beat the young guns of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team again.