LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
Football is said to be a game of inches. The 37th Mission Support Squadron and the 543rd Support Squadron proved that old adage on Aug. 29 when MSS won 7-6 in overtime by accumulating 9 yards more than the 543rd.
According to league rules, if no team scores during overtime, then the team that accumulates the most yards is awarded an extra point and the victory.
The game started with both teams failing to score during their first drives. While the game ended up being a battle of wills, it first looked to be a blowout. MSS held the 543rd scoreless in the first half of the game. MSS also came away with two interceptions in the first half to move deep within scoring territory, but those measures proved fruitless.
According to MSS coach Roberto Porras: "Defense is our bread and butter. We don't do too many things that are complex. We might change one or two player's assignments here or there depending on who we play and what the team brings to the table, but talent- wise, our defense is our strength. It's been our strength as long as I've been with the MSS and that holds true this year. Having guys who work together and trust each other is key, and it shows every night when we work as a unit and hold some of the best teams on base to six points or less."
In the second half, however, the 543rd found its momentum. Late in the third quarter, quarterback Ivan Thomas looked to Damien Rawls on the right side of the field. Rawls was being tightly guarded by cornerback Timothy Creech, and failed to make the catch. Certain he would catch it next time, Rawls barked, "You better send him (Creech) some help." On the next play, Thomas rolled right and found Rawls in the end zone for a touchdown.
"Damien is one of our most competitive individuals on the team and he is not afraid to go up and come down hard for the ball, and with the matchup he had, with the shorter defender, it was an easy option for our quarterback," Granada said.
The 543rd also responded in the second half with a stout man-to-man defense that spread the MSS receivers out past their comfort zones.
"The second half was rough offensively," Roberto Porras said. "We had to use several of our players at positions that they weren't used to, due to injuries, which showed up on some miscues deep in their territory. But you have to hand it to the 543rd. They are a great team. There is a reason that they went as far in the playoffs last year as they did. We knew we couldn't sleep on them and we all had to be on point to try and match up with their intensity."