Intramural flag football season finishes with a bang

Will Oliver

Will Oliver

If many more games play out in the upcoming years like the men’s intramural flag football championship did on Thursday night, another Daktronics scoreboard will be needed.

In a game decided by the refs after regulation due to score uncertainties, the sideline was riddled with enthusiastic fans eager to discover how the game would unfold.

In the end, the Tig Ol’ Bitties sang their redemption song as they defeated the Raisons – a team which had ended the Bitties’ prior two seasons -by the score 34-33. Leading the intramural champs was Junior Eric DeWaard. A speedy, mobile quarterback, DeWaard passed for three touchdowns and ran in two. A tall receiving core with exceptional hands assisted DeWaard in the Bitties’ slim victory.

On the other side of the ball, the Raisons were led by graduate student Chris Stoebner. A pocket quarterback with a great offensive line, athletic receivers, and a cannon arm, Stoebner helped his team fight back from a nine point deficit at halftime.

To start the game off, Tig Ol’ Bitties and the Raisons twice swapped touchdowns, all on long receptions. The Raisons missed extra point conversions after each TD, and the score idled at 14-12.

Tig Ol’ Bitties scored once more before the half’s end on a 15 yard quarterback keeper up the gut, making the halftime score 21-12.

It was clear that the Raisons were dissatisfied with their first half performance. Inspirational leader and scheme orchestrator, senior Mitchell Fargen spoke strategy to his team during the break.

“I want safeties up more, don’t get beat; man up on odd side; safety cheat over and spy QB,” said Fargen at halftime.

Starting with bad field position after a botched kickoff reception, the Raisions were then sacked on back-to-back plays. The sacks resulted from blanketing coverage. Stoebner responded by completing six passes in a row to drive his team down the field to a touchdown. The two-point conversion was waved off when Stoebner was flagged for crossing the line of scrimmage on the completed pass.

After what looked like a pivotal momentum-changing drive, the Raisons would give up a 30-yard touchdown reception on a two-play drive.

“[Raisons] look a little deflated after that last TD,” said senior Tyler Steuk, a public recreation major. Steuk was cheering for the Raisons.

With three minutes on the clock, the Raisons would find the endzone again, with two deep-yardage passes and a heads-up shovel pass for the touchdown. Trailing 28-24, the Raisons converted the extra point to be down by three.

However, somewhere in the midst of all the completions, the boisterous crowd and the cussing participants, the score was lost. Suddenly, the score was unanimously accepted by referees and players. The Raisons trailed by only two, 28-26.

On the subsequent drive, Tig Ol’ Bitties QB DeWaard once again quickly descended on the Raisons’ endzone, running 45 yards for the score. The Tig Ol’ Bitties missed their first extra point attempt; leaving the door open to the Raisons, who trailed 34-26.

As the Raisons took over, DeWaard took to the sideline quite pumped, “I can feel it,” he said.

The Raisons completed play after play. When a pass fell incomplete, a player stepped out of bounds or a penalty occured, Fargen was sure to let the referees know when the clock should stop.

With 39 seconds on the clock, Stoebner completed a toychdown pass down the middle of the field, followed by a completed two-point conversion. The conversion tied the game: 34-34, and sent the crowd abuzz with jubilation.

After the kickoff, Tig Ol’ Bitties seemed to accept the tie score. They attempted two hail marys in an attempt to win instead of kneeling on the ball.

But before the game was to go into overtime, the referees convened for a time and ended the game: Tig Ol’ Bitties 34, Raisons 33.

“It was just fun,” said Stoebner despite the unusual ending. “It gets competitive; we get rough, but at the end of the night, we all go to the same school.”

Reacting to the win, DeWaard attributes the victory to team cohesiveness.

“We’ve been together a couple years now,” said DeWaard, “so we know where we’re gonna be on the field.”