Geckos defense overwhelms 15th CPTS in comeback win

Airman 1st Class Shaun MacFarlane battles for the ball and comes up with an interception. The Geckos defense had five picks for the night.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Aerographer ‘s Mate 1st Class Rodney Rumph’s two interceptions on defense and three touchdowns on offense led the way for a comeback by the 17th Operational Weather Squadron (17 OWS) Geckos in a 25-15 win over the 15th Comptroller Squadron (15 CPTS) in an intramural flag football Gold Division game at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

After dropping their season opening game, the Geckos have now evened their record at 1-1, while the 15 CPTS are now 0-2.

“This was great compared to the first game,” Rumph said. “We really picked it up. We got a couple practices in so our effort was great and our motivation was outstanding.”

The Geckos defense stiffened after giving up the first score of the game and shut down the 15 CPTS offense with a tough secondary that finished with five picks.

The first interception of the game came early in the first half, when Lt. Seth Garland made the steal to stop the 15 CPTS’s first drive.

However, in the first half, the Geckos defense was offset by the solid play of 1st Lt. Taylor Hanley, who led the 15 CPTS to a 7-0 lead.

In the first few minutes of play, Hanley got an interception, batted down a pass in the end zone to prevent a score and caught a long bomb from Master Sgt. Dustin Hindel for the first touchdown of the game.

Hindel completed a pass to Airman 1st Class Emmanuel Aguilar for the point after touchdown to give the 15 CPTS a seven-point advantage.

The Geckos quickly answered on their next possession, when Rumph made his presence known with a bang.

After the Geckos appeared to be bottled up at their own 38-yard line, Rumph took a hand-off from quarterback Lt. Cam Petit on fourth down, swept to the right, found daylight and was gone for a 42-yard touch-down.

“Just keep running,” said Rumph about his first touch-down of the night. “Flag football is never a given. I just so happened to keep running all the way to the end zone.”

Later, the Geckos got their second interception of the game by Airman 1st Class Shaun MacFarlane.

Instead of driving out the clock to end the first half, the ball was hiked over the head of Petit and into the end zone for a safety to raise the lead for the 15 CPTS to 9-6 just before half-time.

After getting warmed up in the first half, Rumph came out on fire to start the second half.

On the 15 CPTS first drive coming out of halftime, Rumph made his first pick of the game and took it 30 yards to the house for the Geckos first lead at 12-9.

“They (the 15 CPTS) had been running in the flats a couple times,” Rumph said. “We switched the cover to disguise it and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

After taking the lead, the Geckos got the ball right back on an interception by Petit, who doubled as a defensive back.

Petit then took over the reins at QB and directed a 46-yard drive to pay dirt with the final toss going to MacFarlane for a touchdown and 18-9 advantage.

The 15 CPTS managed to score a touchdown on a 17-yard keeper by fill-in quarterback Tech. Sgt. Willie Hogan, but on the Geckos next possession, Petit hoisted a long pass over the top and into the hands of Rumph, who covered the remaining yards into the end zone for his third touchdown.

Fittingly, the game ended on Rumph’s second interception of the night.

While Rumph admitted that the team’s offense is a little behind of its defense, Rumph said that it’s just a matter of time before everyone is in sync.

“We’ve just got to keep practicing,” he said. “Keep making everyone better and keep communicating. They’ll (the offense) get there.”

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Category: Sports