RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
In hour-long action during the Intramural Flag Football League opening game at Grater Field Wednesday night, the 12th Mission Support Squadron players dominated the Randolph Air Force Base's Fire Department team, outscoring them 14-6.
Despite a smaller number of players on the team's depth chart -- about 11 to the Firemen's 15-man roster -- the 12th MSS held the Firemen scoreless throughout the game's first half. That was largely due a defense that stuck to the Firemen's receivers like glue -- and especially to the efforts of 12th MSS quarterback and coach Hestroverto Martinez, who threw a 65-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter to receiver Daniel Ritter.
The duo teamed up again in the second quarter, this time for a 75-yard reception, thrown by Martinez from deep inside the 12th MSS territory that Ritter caught in double coverage and ran into the end zone for another score. By the game's end, Martinez had thrown for about 200 yards.
The second half saw the Firemen try to come back, with a strategy showcasing quarterback-coach Greg Cruz's short shovel passes to teammate Charles Lombardia, who served as the team's running and receiving workhorse. Lombardia racked up about 90 yards through shifty, quick sprints through a spirited 12th MSS defense -- which, keying on the Firemen's quarterback and covering receivers well, forced three interceptions in the second half.
But in the fourth quarter of the contest, with about six plays left, Firemen defensive standout Justin Zabel put pressure on Martinez, causing him to throw a pass directly into the arms of Fireman Jamie Van Aterson, who sprinted with the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, bringing the score up to 14-6. However, time ran out for the Firemen.
12th MSS quarterback-coach Martinez credited his team's win to his team's feisty players who shone while shutting down the Firemen team's short pass strategy.
"Our defense really stepped up and didn't let the Firemen score until the last part of the game," Martinez concluded.