By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 7, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 7, 2013) -- As a chilly breeze took over the field, the 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Waffles took on the 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment Old Warriors in a close intramural football game that had both teams on the edge of their seats.
The Waffles came out on top, however, as they beat the Old Warriors, 18-13, with superior offense and a defense that proved too much for the 1-145th.
"The game was closer than it needed it to be," said Sgt. Neal Eaton, captain and quarterback of the Waffles. "We had (a couple of players) drop the pick, but our team strength is that we have a good defense."
The 1-11th received to start and began strong with a complete pass on their first play, and the Old Warriors came back with a strong defense to combat their opponent's strong start.
Despite that strong start, the Waffles were unable to push through their opponent's defense for a first down, and turned the ball over at their own 30-yard line just minutes into the game.
The Old Warriors started their possession on the right foot with a yard-gaining run on their first play, followed by a 10-yard run for the first down to put them within yards of the opposing goal line.
The Waffles had to work hard to keep their opponents from scoring and was able to hold them at the 15-yard line and force the turnover.
Although their defense got into the game, 1-145th still had quite a ways to go to get to their opponent's end zone, and with only 10 minutes remaining in the first half and neither team on the scoreboard, both teams had their work cut out for them.
The 1-11th changed the pace of the game, however, and went to work as Eaton threw a 10-yard pass to which the receiver managed to run for more than 60 yards for the first touchdown of the game, but didn't manage to get the extra point and led their opponents, 6-0.
The clock was running down fast and the Old Warriors needed to get into to game to stay on top of their opponents, and even though they managed a 50-yard run to get to the opposing 30-yard line, the Waffle's defense tightened up to keep them at bay and retook possession.
On their first down, the 1-11th managed a 20-yard pass and 30-yard run to push closer to the opposing end zone and get within reach of their second touchdown. They quickly followed up with another 15-yard run to get another first down and get closer to the goal line, but a penalty pushed them back to favor the Old Warriors.
The Waffles wouldn't be deterred, though, as they made up for lost ground with another complete pass to get within 10 yards of the end zone.
One play later, they had their second touchdown of the game, and went for the 2-point conversion, but were unable to complete the play and now led their opponents 12-0 with just one minute remaining in the first half.
Determined to get back in the game, the Old Warriors brought out an aggressive play style to push downfield, but weren't able to complete the long-range passes they were going for.
The 1-145th decided to punt after three failed passes and returned possession to the 1-11th with just 40 seconds left in the half.
The Waffles took possession hoping to add more pressure to their opponents, but the Old Warrior's defense went to work and managed to push them back toward their own goal line, eventually forcing a punt.
Although the Old Warriors managed to return the ball to the opposing 20-yard line, they didn't have enough time to make a play before the clock ran down, ending the half 12-0.
The 1-145th had a small advantage going into the second half as they received, and pushed hard downfield to start the half on the right foot, but the 1-11th's defense stayed on them to hold them back.
The Old Warriors seemed to finally find their footing as they threw a 20-yard pass that they ran to the opposing 30-yard line before the runner passed it back to another player to run it the rest of the way downfield for the touchdown and put them on the score board with the extra point, 12-7.
Not to be outdone, the Waffles showed their offensive prowess by completing pass after pass to push downfield, and ultimately threw a 30-yard pass that allowed the receiver to run 40-yards downfield for the touchdown to once again extend their lead, 18-7.
The Old Warriors maintained their stride as they took possession with only 10 minutes remaining in the game. Play after play, they slowly inched their way toward the opposing end zone until they were in reach of the goal line.
They managed to throw a pass into the end zone that bounced off the hands of one of their own, right into the hands of a fellow player for their second touchdown of the game to trail their opponents by only five points.
The Waffles took possession determined to stay far ahead of their opponents, but the opposing defense managed to hold them back and even catch an interception to retake possession with only three minutes remaining.
Although the Old Warriors now had possession, they had to cover the entire length of the field in order to score to take the lead, and they managed to get first down after first down and edge closer to the opposing goal line.
But with less than a minute left in the game and still 30 yards from the end zone, The Waffles managed to hold the line strong when the Old Warriors literally threw their chance at a touchdown away with an interception with only seconds remaining in the game, ending the game 18-13.
Despite the close game, Eaton remains confident that his team will make it all the way to the end.
"I think we have real good hopes to win the championship," he said. "As long as we get our manning, we'll be alright."