FORT BENNING, Ga., (Dec. 4, 2013) -- Soldiers from the 11th Engineer Battalion turned out Nov. 27 at Engineer Field for one of the battalion's pre-Thanksgiving traditions.

The annual Turkey Bowl pitted the battalion's officers against the noncommissioned officers in a gridiron battle, although the game didn't resemble conventional football.

The officers topped the NCOs 19-11 in a game of ultimate football, which features no stoppages in play.
In ultimate football, teams attempt to pass the ball from teammate to teammate. Once a reception is made, a receiver can take no more than three steps before they must throw the ball to another teammate. If a pass is incomplete, it is a turnover and the defending team gains possession of the ball at the spot of the incompletion.

The altered rules structure seemed to benefit the officers, who controlled the game with mostly short and intermediate passes.

"Everyone loves to throw the deep ball, but when the wind started picking, we had to make a change of plans and we were able to make it happen," said 2nd Lt. Robert Zimmerman.

After the game, 1st Sgt. Michael Ascott, who played for the NCOs, took time to poke fun at the officers' choice of rules.

"Ultimate football is not a real game," he said. "It's a game made up by officers so they can tun around and feel like they're doing something athletic. It's really PT for officers, but that's fine. If you look at the cup, every year that we've won, we've played actual flag football. When we lose, we play this thing that they like to call a sport."

Zimmerman responded with some tongue-in-cheek comments of his own.

"All I have to say is we're kind of a big deal," Zimmerman said. "On the trophy, it doesn't say 'ultimate football' or 'flag football.' It just says 'Turkey Bowl football champions.' Everyone knows what's coming. They had time to prepare and had extra practices. We just showed up. They're supposed to be the ones who are so organized."

While the two teams enjoyed a bit of trash talking during and after the game, Zimmerman said the event was all about building unity in the battalion.

"They gave a great effort and it was great camaraderie," he said. "We had a great time doing it."