By Mr. Brian Lepley (Presidio)January 31, 2017
Nobody's perfect … except for Company A, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion's flag football team.
Perfect 10-0 in the regular season. Perfect 2-0 in the playoffs for the 2016 Presidio of Monterey championship. A perfect playoff defense with an 18-0 semi-final win over California Medical Detachment Jan. 25 and then shutting out 517th Training Group 20-0 in the Jan. 26 title game.
The final was a replay of the last game of the regular season when Co. A squeaked by the Air Force squad 7-6.
"Our defense was a lot better this game; we worked out a lot things since then," said Rachel Bourgeois, Co. A coach. "We were better able to work as a team today."
In both playoff games the Army team used its speed and athleticism to maximum advantage on both sides of the ball. Its offense gobbled up big chunks of yardage with downfield bombs and exploiting slants for big gains. The players that broke open those offensive plays covered opponents well downfield, breaking up passes, while the CalMed and 517th quarterbacks were flushed from the pocket by Co. A's pass rush.
"They made the plays and we didn't. They had a good game," said Jamie Taylor, 517th coach. "They spread us out and picked the spots they needed to hit and we didn't."
The Air Force team, 8-2 in the regular season, had their last chance, taking the ball with more than six minutes left and the Army leading 14-0. QB Michael Warrington flung a bomb to the left sideline that Co. A's Michael Streuling picked off at the 35 yard line with a little over four minutes remaining. He returned the ball 30 yards.
"Everyone did their job on the defense, made him throw it up in the air, and I was lucky enough to be in the spot the ball came down," Streuling said. "Definitely a big momentum shift if they're able to convert there. I'd say that was the nail in the coffin with about five minutes left. Definitely a big play for us."
Justin O'Sullivan, Co. A QB, took advantage at 1:45, lobbing the ball to the 12-yard line in the neighborhood of Streuling, who snatched it over two defenders for another TD and the final score.
"I had a step on (them) and it was a little bit underthrown so I just came back to the ball and got on top," Streuling said. "I was able to get over him and catch the ball and score."
The 517th's final drive for any points ended with less than a minute to go and an interception by Co. A's Sebastian Dirienzo at the 14-yard line.
"They played mistake-free football," said the 517th's Rob McGuire. "I kept telling our team, 'they're going to make a mistake, it's going to happen, we're only down 7-0.' They just didn't. That's how it goes sometimes."
Co. A, 229th MI Battalion 20
517th Training Group 0
Semifinals Jan. 25
Co. A, 229th MI Battalion 18
California Medical Det. 0
517th Training Group 26
Co. B, 229th MI Battalion 20