Flag Football: The Playoffs Are On

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, the first round of the Flag Football playoffs brought both surprise and excitement.ÿ With a backdrop of solid sportsmanship by all, the four games each brought it’s own flavor to the inimitable HBS IM scene.ÿ In the RC bracket, it was a the surprise of the upset.ÿ Two less-heralded teams pulled together to knock off the undefeated juggernauts.ÿ In the EC bracket, excitement came in the form of great teams living up to expectations.ÿ In both, the march is on to take the early lead in the HBS-SA Cup standings and earn the t-shirts that proclaim them, HBS Flag Football Champions.ÿ

Below you’ll find recaps written by the winning captains, except in the case of NA vs NE where we thought it would be fun to bring you the perspectives from both sides of a tough game.ÿ Also, you’ll find the latest odds of winning, cobbled together from expert analysis of those who have watched more Flag Football than they ever expected this year.ÿ Enjoy!

EC Bracket:
OG beats OG 34-19

Old D and Old G played Wednesday afternoon in a highly anticipated matchup between two of the top ranked teams in the school.ÿ QBs Julio Siberio (OG) and Richmond McMurray (OD) are both run and pass threats spearheading two of the three highest scoring offenses in the regular season, so few people were surprised when the two teams scored TDs on each of their first three possessions.

Midway through the 2nd half, it looked as if a two-point conversion would be all the difference in this one.ÿ With the score at 20-19, OD’s McMurray found Jim McQuade in the back corner of the end zone to go up by seven.ÿ Rolling the dice on a 2pt conversion, Old D’s Adam Apfel came up with a huge reception to put D up by nine.ÿ Knowing OG had to push it to score twice in the last 10 minutes, Old D stepped it up defensively thanks to some great plays by Andrew Nartker, Brandon Gordon, Carlos Coto, Sarah Murphy, and Kaitlin Yount.ÿ

When it was all said and done, Old D held on to beat Old G by a score of 34-19 (McMurray connecting with McQuade for four TDs and with Phil Dreyfuss for one). ÿSection D Co-MVPs of the game were Eric Newman and Dave Krasik, playing offensive and defensive line, respectively.ÿ Newman did all he could to fend off the strong pass rush of OG’s Rob Carpio, and Krasik put much-needed pressure on QB Siberio.ÿ

Old D will play next Wednesday (Nov. 3rd) at 4:30PM in the EC Championship game against Old I.ÿ These two teams came into the playoffs as the odds-on favorites to win it all, but only one will advance to play the winners of the RC league for the overall HBS flag football title.

OI over OB 35-26
It was an old-fashioned shootout between OI and OB with OI prevailing in the end, 35-26.ÿ It was the most points an offense has put up on OB all season (the previous high was 20 – also put up by OI when they played during the regular season).ÿ After both teams provided stops on each others’ first series, it looked like it was going to be a defensive battle.ÿ Jake “The Snake” Johnston and Jeremy “The Kid” Lipstein were solid at the corner position for OI.ÿ After the first two series, both offenses settled in and went to work, trading touchdowns throughout the first half.ÿ Porter “Dr.” Jones was nimble and accurate, showing why OB’s 16:1 odds of winning were far lower than warranted.ÿ He marched OB down the field, finding his favorite targets, Chad Hufsey and Craig Baum.ÿ Cole “Lance Harbor” VandenAkker picked apart OB’s cover-2 zone with an array of potent receiving weapons which included sure-handed Kyle “The Dream” Gallary, Russ “Silent Assassin” Warren, and Bart “You Can’t Stop Me” Howe.ÿ Halftime score: 14-14.

OI got the ball to start the second half and never looked back.ÿ Staring down the barrel of 4th and 10 in their own territory, OI elected to go for it.ÿ Freddie “I’m in Your Head” Martignetti made a fantastic grab on a drag route right at the first down marker.ÿ Then, facing a 3rd and long, VandenAkker launched a ball to the back of the end zone where Matt “You Can Only Hope to Contain Me” Tolliver came down with a sensational grab in traffic.ÿ OB scored on their next possession, but blanket defense by Kevin “Ball Hawk” Taylor thwarted OB’s extra point attempt, giving OI the lead 21-20.ÿ On the next possession, A.J. “The Great White Hope” Dunklau pulled down a deep ball over the middle to give OI good field position.ÿ With OB blitzing on the next play, VandenAkker lateraled to Dustin “The Chosen One” Sedgwick, then made his way to the end zone where Sedgwick found him with a perfect pass tip-toeing along the back of the end zone.ÿ Sedgwick’s brilliant one-handed grab for the extra point put OI up 28-20.ÿ OB wasn’t done though.ÿ Jones came back down the field with some impressive scrambles and led OB into the end zone yet again.ÿ After a failed extra point attempt, OI led 28-26.ÿ OI took the ball looking to finish off OB.ÿ OB’s tough defense put OI in another 4th down situation in their own territory.ÿ Electing to go for it yet again, Tolliver pulled down a big first down grab.ÿ VandenAkker then found Dunklau dragging across the end zone where he made an unbelievable grab on the sideline – just keeping both feet in bounds.ÿ OI up 35-26.ÿ With the clock winding down, and OB needing two scores to win, Jones went to work again.ÿ Kathleen “Mrs. President” Hebert shut down OB’s attempts to throw across the middle.ÿ Relentless pressure from Josh “All Blacks” Gregg forced a rare overthrow by Jones that led to a VandenAkker interception.ÿ A nifty run by Taylor to get a first down sealed the victory.ÿ OI wins 35-26.ÿ

RC Bracket:
NG beats NB 34-33 (OT)

“We showed everybody what we’re made of this afternoon.ÿ Big things happen when nobody believes in you.ÿ We gutted out an awesome win against the supposed “darlings” of the RC class (B), 34-33 in overtime.ÿ The game was fantastic.ÿ G played through busted knees (Choa) and broken fingers (Conroy) to put forth a tough performance.ÿ Seeing Patrick snap his finger back into place after making a game-saving tackle, and then continue playing like it ‘aint no thang’ is the stuff of legend.ÿ Rahul “I’ve got the best hands in the biz” Sangwan caught the winning 1pt conversion after Jessie “I will whoop you in a footrace” Sobel ran in her 2nd TD of the game.ÿ G had monster plays from Cameron Johnson (our defensive stopper), Jon Choa (bigtime INT), and Caroline Kennedy (momentum-swinging scampers) put us in a position to upset Section B.”

– Legend has it that this is the speech IM chair, Cesar Rodarte made to his troops after he pulled out the biggest upset of the year (so far).

NE beats NA 32-20
NE Perspective:

Emus win in convincing fashion despite being considered underdog by hapless HBS Cup organizers

Section E continued their march towards greatness in flag football and life Wednesday night with a convincing 32-20 victory over top-seeded Section A.

After falling behind early following a quick touchdown strike early by Section A, Section E took control the rest of the way, with the Section E offense taking the A-team secondary deep on two different occasions in the first half.ÿ A third touchdown right before the break put the E squad up 24-8 at halftime.

From there, the game was ultimately never in question.ÿ Despite Section A briefly flirting with a comeback behind an impassioned halftime speech by Section A captain Marc Yocum, a befuddling zone defense led by Tanner Gardner and Felipe Arias shutdown the A-offense, while deep receptions by Michelle Richards, Will Fotsch, and Andrew Wolston kept the game out of reach.

When asked who he thought performed well during the game, team captain Freddy Flaxman responded, “Tannnnnerrrrrr!” pointing to no one in particular in the crowd.

Section E next plays Section G in the RC Championship. Key stat of the game: Number of times tackling girls : Rob Woods (0)

NA Perspective:ÿ
In local HBS IM Flag Football Action, the top-seeded Section A Pandas were eliminated from the Playoffs by a red hot Section E Squad, 32-20.ÿ Things started well enough for the A-teamers, as QB Jeff Buening led the squad on a 6 play, 80 yard drive capped by an acrobatic touchdown catch by Rob LeBlanc.ÿ The Panda defense forced a turnover on downs on the second possession, but could not convert on a 4th and goal try on offense.ÿ After that, the floodgates opened.ÿ Section E QB Freddy Flaxman beat the A-team secondary deep on two different occasions in the first half.ÿ A third touchdown right before the break put the A squad down 24-8 at halftime.

After an emotional halftime speech, the A-teamers came out firing on defense, led by Carle Stenmark and Jon Enberg, both of whom made superb diving deflections to stall Section E’s drive.ÿ Buening, limited by knee issues, connected with a limping Stenmark on a crossing pattern for a score to put the game within reach, 24-14.ÿ Stenmark turned in a truly gutsy performance, playing with a pulled hamstring and what may be a broken metatarsal after being cleated in the opening minutes of the game.ÿ The tides appeared to be turning, as the A-teamers held the Section E squad yet again, and regained possession of the ball.ÿ On the following drive, Buening, being aggressively rushed, put up a prayer in the end zone, only to have it pulled down by LeBlanc in the end zone for what may have been the greatest play of Panda season, putting the game within one possession at 24-20.

The ensuing possession saw another amazing defensive stand by the A-teamers, this time led by a Dan Brewer sack.ÿ This forced a punt, and the A-teamers were in position to take the lead.ÿ On the first play of the offensive series, Buening looked to LeBlanc deep, only to have his pass intercepted deep in Section E territory.ÿ The following possession saw QB Freddy Flaxman march his Section E squad down the field, and again beat the A-team secondary with a deep ball to put the game at 32-20 with 5 minutes to play.

In the most controversial play of the game, Buening connected with Job Enberg at mid-field on the ensuing possession, and after evading tacklers, Enberg leapt for the end zone and appeared to break the plane with the ball, putting the game back within reach.ÿ However, after losing a flag during his run, he was contacted at two-yard line and ruled down (one hand touch rules).ÿ On the next play, Buening scrambled on the next play to evade the Section E rush, but was picked off in the end zone to end the drive, and the Panda season.ÿ Buening turned in a purely magnificent season at the helm, finishing with 20 TDs to 5 INTs.