Marines defeat Firefighters in Hunter gridiron championship
October 28, 2010
<b> HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga.<b>
The Savannah Marines took the Hunter Army Airfield Intramural Flag Football title, defeating the Hunter Army Airfield Firefighters, 25-24, Oct. 21.
But it wasn't easy for the men of the Corps, who battled injuries and the life of the military to take the trophy. "We had an up and down season," Marine team captain Dominic Pittman said after the game. "We had a lot of injuries, a lot of Marines on temporary duty throughout the season."
The lack of continuity in their lineup showed early, as the Firefighters got on the board first, with an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robert Gordon to Will Greenan in the end zone. The extra point was blocked by Michael Marvin, and the Firefighters were on top, 6-0.
Later in the first half, the Marines tied it up when quarterback Marvin connected with Dustan Griffin in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. After the extra point was intercepted, the score stood knotted at 6-6.
On the ensuing play, the Firefighters took back the lead. Beginning on their 30, Gordon connected with Reggie Crawford for a 30-yard gain. From the 10 yard line, Gordon found Robert Lamar in the end zone despite double coverage. They took the 12-6 lead after yet another missed extra point.
In keeping with the back-and-forth theme of the game, the Marines tied the game going into halftime. At first and goal on the 20, the Firefighters were called offsides, giving the Marines five extra yards. Marvin's attempt at a touchdown pass was incomplete, but yet again the Firefighters were giving away yards, when pass interference was called on the defense, giving the Marines first and goal from the 7. Marvin scrambled back, but found an open lane to the goal, and took the 7-yard keeping in for the score, and bringing the game to 12-12 entering the half.
The Firefighters started the second half on the offense, but Gordon threw an interception to Gregory Rayburn on the Marine 15-yard line. The Marine defensive back took it 28 yards before being taken down by Geordan Grant. But a block in the back negated the return, bringing the ball back to Marine's 3-yard line. Marvin chipped a short pass to Dominic Pittman, who turned on the jets and took it 55 yards to the house.
For the first time in the game, the Marines connected on the extra point. Marvin took in the 3-yard keeper, which would prove to be the difference in the game, and gave the Marines the 19-12 lead.
On the next series, the Firefighters scored on a 60-yard pass to Darrel Stoney, but yet again Rayburn was in the right place at the right time, knocking down Gordon's pass. On their next possession the Marines made it 25-18 with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Rayburn. But the Firefighters continued to fight, scoring on their next series. Back-to-back-to-back completions started the play - a 10-yard pass to John Richardson was followed by a 10-yard pass to Reggie Crawford, then a short pass to Lamar, who turned it into 25 yards. On second-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Gordon kept it to himself and took the ball into the end zone for the score.
Looking to tie the game with the extra point, Gordon's 3-yard pass attempt was intercepted by Jeffrey Radcliff.
One point proved to be the difference in the championship, and the Marines, who defeated the regular-season champion 473rd Quartermasters in the semi finals, left the gridiron as Hunter's top dog.
During the awards ceremony following the game, Lt. Col. Jose Aguilar, Hunter garrison commander, showed pride in the joint nature of Hunter Army Airfield. "It's great to have combined arms on this installation," he said to the Savannah Marines after their win. Despite being down five players in the championship game, the Marines were able forget about their past inconsistencies and stick to their game plan.
"We just wanted to play mistake-free," Pittman said. "We're a passing team and we kept with that tonight. The line blocked well and the receivers got open." But he made sure to note that their opponents didn't make it easy. "The Firefighters are a good team," he said. "It wasn't an easy win for us."
The Savannah Marines will take on the Fort Stewart champions in the 3rd Infantry Division 2010 Flag Football championship, to be held at Hunter's Squire Complex at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 9.