By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 3, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 3, 2013) -- Fort Rucker Youth Sports 7-on-7 tackle football started last week and teams went head-to-head Sept. 30 in what is sure to be one of the closest games of the season, and The Fort Rucker Knights beat Royal Blue, 21-20.
"Tonight was a good win. We started slow with some poor blocking, but the defense stepped it up big time and we're happy with it," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Huff, coach for the Knights. "I run a single-wing offense, which is pretty simple and straight forward. We just try to run and use our speed, and on defense, we just try to play smart."
The Knights started by receiving first, but started off slow as their opponents were able to hold the line and keep them from moving down the field.
As the threat of a turnover loomed, the Knights pushed hard and managed a 20-yard run for a first down. They kept up their pace on the next play and managed to slip past their opponents for their first touchdown and extra point of the game.
Royal Blue took possession and slowly pushed downfield, but wasn't able to push past the Knights' defense before coming to a 4th down on their first possession. Not to be outshined, however, Royal Blue pushed hard with a 25-yard run to bring them to the opposing 20-yard line and within reach of the goal line.
The Knights defense proved to be too much for team Royal Blue, and the team turned the ball over at the 15-yard line.
With only 1 minute remaining in the first quarter, The Knights managed to push halfway downfield, but were stopped by the Royal's defense before the buzzer sounded.
Royal Blue's defense tightened up and managed to force a turnover at the start of the second quarter, and their offense went to work, slipping past their opponents at every turn, and even managed a 15-yard pass for a touchdown.
Despite the Knights' inability to keep their opponents from scoring, they were able to keep Royal Blue from the extra point, and maintained the lead, 7-6.
Not to be outdone, the Knights took possession and powered down the field past their opponents, and managed a 40-yard run to the end zone to mark their second touchdown and extend their lead.
Royal Blue had their work cut out for them as they took possession, and were able to run past the opposing 40-yard line, but the Knights defense hardened to stop them in their tracks.
The Knights took possession with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half, but were unable to make any more headway before the half ended with them in the lead, 13-6.
Royal Blue started the second half receiving and started off on the wrong foot with a 5-yard penalty for a player off sides, but hit back with an almost 60-yard run for a touchdown and 2-point conversion to take the lead for the first time, 14-13.
Like their offense, their defense went to work and held the line, and they were able to recover a fumble to retake possession at the opposing 25-yard line.
Despite the fumble, Royal Blue was unable to push past their opponents, and even threw an interception on their 4th down, returning possession to the Knights.
The Knights offense came back aggressively as they pushed toward the goal line, but couldn't manage a 1st down before the buzzer sounded, ending the 3rd quarter. They went into the 4th quarter on a 4th down with only five yards to go for the 1st down, but Royal Blue forced the turnover.
They didn't hold onto the ball for long as the Knights defense pushed them back to their 20-yard line before retaking possession.
Only one play later, the Knights managed a 19-yard run for the touchdown to retake the lead, 21-14.
Not to be outdone, Royal Blue managed a 50-yard run as soon as they took possession for the touchdown, but were unable to get the extra point and trailed their opponents 21-20.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Knights took possession and managed to hold onto the ball as the clock ran down.
Although the Knights came out with a win, Huff said the spirit of the game has a bigger message to convey other than victory.
"(The sport) is important for education as well as building (a competitive nature)," he said. "You want to be a good representative of who you are, and that's our goal -- to build teamwork and build up great character for their future."