By Brandon BieltzNovember 23, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- For three years, the commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers of Headquarters Company have squared off on the gridiron for a friendly game with bragging rights at stake in the annual co-ed Meade Bowl held Friday.
The NCOs have put together a dominating performance each year to defeat the company's commissioned officers.
This year's contest was no different as the NCOs remain undefeated. NCOs Quarterback Martin Hunt led the way with three touchdown passes as the NCOs cruised to a 34-6 victory.
Leading up to the game, Company Commander Edmund Barrett said his team would play hard to finally capture a win.
"We've got some really competitive guys, we're going to fight as hard as we can," Barrett said. "We've got some great athletes on our team. We'll come out here and run hard and, hopefully, we'll get lucky."
Barrett's team did have one secret weapon, which could have possibly propel the Officers to victory.
"We have the chaplain on our side," Barrett said.
While the team worked to recruit officers for the game, members of the NCOs team already had built team confidence and a rapport, as many had played football together before Friday's game.
The NCOs roster was a combination of intramural players, with seven from Division II's undefeated 241st Military Police Detachment team that included Hunt. The quarterback said having six of his 241st teammates on the NCOs team was a benefit.
"They know where I like to scramble and where I like to throw the ball," Hunt said. "[Wide receiver] Chris May knows how to get open for me."
The connection between Hunt and May became evident on the NCOs' first offensive play, as Hunt hit May with a deep pass that allowed the receiver to reach the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
On the drive following, Officers' quarterback Dan Wilmoth turned the ball over on the second play. The interception by Hunt set up a three-play drive starting at the Officers' 25-yard line. Lakesha Copeland caught a short pass at the goal line to improve the NCOs' lead to 13-0.
Tyrone King of the NCOs turned up the heat defensively on the struggling Officers' offense as he caught Wilmoth in the back field for a sack. The sack moved the Officers backwards, as the team again went 3-and-out with no first downs on their first three drives.
Hunt and May connected for another touchdown to cap an eight-play drive. This drive was aided by a 25-yard run by Hunt on a third-down play. The NCOs held a 20-0 lead at halftime behind Hunt's three touchdown passes.
The NCOs had possession of the ball to begin the second half and continued to dominate the Officers as they moved the ball quickly down the field. On the drive's final play, Hunt lateraled the ball to Steve Strickland, who threw a touchdown pass to May. The touchdown gave the NCOs a dominating 27-0 lead early in the second half.
On the first play of the Officers' ensuing drive, King intercepted a pass to give the NCOs possession of the ball. With three receiving touchdowns, May moved from wideout to behind center to throw a touchdown pass to Richardson Tirado, increasing the team's lead to 34-0.
The Officers finally began to move the ball down the field with a long run by Michael Madsen that put the Officers in NCOs' territory for the first time. A deep pass from Wilmoth to Barrett moved the Officers closer to scoring position, but Wilmoth's pass was picked off by Faamasani Tupua at the 1-yard line.
A Kandra Carr sack and a failed fourth-down pass forced the NCOs to turn the ball over on its goal line. The Officers made it into the end zone with a Wilmoth run.
The late second-half touchdown was too little, too late as the NCOs defeated the Officers 34-6.
"We like winning and we like winning big," Hunt said.
With a 3-0 record, Hunt said the Officers will have to bring something special next year to dethrone the NCOs.
"The bragging rights are set in stone," he said.