Deep John Paul Jones dominates

Lt. j.g. Paul Winston takes off to the end zone to complete a pick six.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Even with their starting quarterback on the sidelines nursing an injury, USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) just kept on rolling their way through the Afloat Division.

With QB Operations Specialist 2nd Class Enrico Poole on the mend, John Paul Jones turned to receiver Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Kalvin Popkes to take over signal calling duties and just like the name on the back of his jersey, which reads Iceman, Popkes coolly took control. He led the team to a dominating 52-14 win over USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) on Nov. 5 in an Afloat Division intramural flag football game at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win capped off an un-defeated 9-0 regular season for John Paul Jones, while the loss ended the year for William P. Lawrence, which finished in fifth place and one spot out of the postseason.

“Being a receiver, it’s nice to know how everyone like it,” said Popkes, who added that he wasn’t alone in moving the offense. “Stevenson (Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Shayne) is a big playmaker and Montgomery (Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Dylan) is tall, got the height advantage. That’s perfect.”

Against John Paul Jones, William P. Lawrence came out ready to play and even shocked the league leader. Seaman Kenje Hilton fought off a defender and caught a long bomb that was good for 59 yards and a touchdown.

However, following that spectacular play, the focus of the game turned entirely toward John Paul Jones.

The next time the John Paul Jones took over at defense, the team tied the game on a pick six by Lt. j.g. Paul Winston, before taking the lead for good on a three-point conversion that made it 9-6.

Following the defensive strike, John Paul Jones got their offense going with the ball deep in William P. Lawrence territory at the 19.

After a pickup of 18 yards placed the ball at the one, Popkes threw a strike to Montgomery for a 16-6 lead after the point after touchdown conversion.

Popkes closed out the first half by throwing for another touch-down and running a bootleg into the end zone for a 28-6 lead at halftime.

After intermission, John Paul Jones was ready to resume control and marched 65 yards on just six plays to score touchdown number five.

During the scoring drive, Popkes went four-for-five in passes and covered the final two yards on a short burst over the goal line to raise the lead to 34-6.

William P. Lawrence came back with their second touch-down on a long toss to Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) Fireman Emmanuel Duncan, but two more touch-downs by John Paul Jones and a game-ending pick by Lt. Glenn Roberts put the final exclamation point on the win.

“We came in relaxed and focused,” Popkes said about the win. “Everybody came in early and we were ready for a good game.”

If John Paul Jones hopes to advance deep through the playoffs, Popkes said that preparation and keeping their eye on the target must be at the team’s highest level.

“We practice throughout the week,” he said. “Then we show up an hour early for the game. We finalize every position and everything, so it’s good focus.”

While Popkes delivered extremely well as the team’s quarterback, he said that he’ll be happy to resume his position at wide receiver, when Poole comes back.

“I’m not the man,” Popkes said with a laugh. “Poole will be back.”

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Category: Sports