37th Mission Support Squadron receiver Shad Clark tries to evade two defenders from the 93rd Intelligence Squadron in the Sept. 24, 2007 game at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (USAF photo by Robbin Cresswell) (Photo by Robbin Cresswell)
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
The 37th Mission Support Squadron won the Flag Football Base Championship Sept. 25, 19-7, after a hard-fought two-day series against the 93rd Intelligence Squadron, the Black Knights.
"Everyone came out and wanted to win it," said head coach Roberto Porras. "MSS had been so close for the last six years, always reaching the semifinals and quarterfinals, but never sealing the deal. This team didn't want this opportunity to slip through their fingers again."
The Black Knights kept their championship hopes alive by beating the MSS 13-6 Sept. 24, forcing another game, due to the double-elimination style tournament. Both offenses came out sloppy in the first quarter as the Black Knights had their first play of the game intercepted by MSS linebacker, Keith Furhman.
The Black Knights quickly countered with their own interception by cornerback Daniel Haymore. Quarterback Robert Dixon hit receiver Duan Perry on a short hook route that turned into a 20-yard touchdown run.
MSS continued to struggle on offense, however, as their next drive was also stopped by an interception.
Linebacker Brandon Hodges returned the interception with a 25-yard touchdown.
With time winding down in the first half, and trailing 13-0, MSS took one more shot at the end zone with a Hail Mary pass.
The pass was bobbled by both offensive and defensive players, but MSS wide receiver Jordan Johnson ended up coming down with it, and fell just short of the end zone, slipping as time expired.
MSS started the second half with the ball and quickly put together a drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from quarterback Roberto Hernandez to wide receiver Shad Clark. Linebacker Russell Callaway intercepted a pass, fueling an MSS drive that put MSS inches away from the goal line.
However, Hodges forced another interception protecting the Black Knights' lead and ending MSS's last threat to tie up the game.
The next night proved to be a different story as MSS scored on their first drive with Hernandez hitting Johnson with a 10-yard touchdown pass.
"Rob was awesome last night," Porras said. "He spread it around and never blamed anybody for anything that didn't work. Normally teams know to cover Clark and Callaway, but yesterday Rob was able to spread the ball around, and that really caused the defense to cover everyone, which is always a tough thing to do in football.
MSS continued to blitz the Black Knights and forced them to punt away, leading to another scoring drive with Hernandez finding Reginald Quince in the end zone. Hernandez also connected with Quince for the extra point, giving MSS a 13-0 lead at halftime.
"Our defense was key last night," Porras said. "It was great to see our guys step up and make plays when it mattered. Every guy out there knew their assignment and executed to the best of his ability."
The Black Knights would not go quietly, scoring on their first drive of the second half. Dixon found receiver Jared Dando in the end zone in double coverage for the score. The extra point was intended for receiver Joe Hammon but went off of his hand and into the arms of receiver D'Anthony Liggins, making the score 13-7.
On fourth down with 10 yards to go, Hernandez found Calloway in the end zone, sealing the victory and base championship for MSS.
"You can't take anything away from 93rd IS," Porras said. "They played a good first game against us, and a good second game too. It was obvious they had us pretty well scouted. They knew what to look for, and when they went six wide with no blockers, or five wide with one blocker, it threw us off since no one had used that offense against us. But in the second game I would say we were more focused."