Louisville upsets playoff contender Jefferson City

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Tyre Smith takes a punt down the sideline for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Just one game away from locking down a spot in the playoffs, USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) must wait another week to try to secure a postseason berth after being upset by USS Louisville (SSN 724), 24-7, on Nov. 5 in an Afloat Division intramural flag football game at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Louisville started off the season with four straight losses, but have now strung together a three-game-winning streak to improve to 3-4, while Jefferson City now holds a record of 5-4.

“We were missing a few guys, but since we got our whole group together, we’ve been playing a lot,” said Louisville quarterback Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Louis Green. “It’s nice to finally get all the men together and get the cohesion and everything and go from there.”

At first, Louisville found itself in trouble, when Jefferson City broke the red zone twice within the first few minutes of the game.

The Louisville defense managed to hold off Jefferson City on the first drive and then came up with a second stop in the red zone, when Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear Power) 2nd Class Jon Schmidt picked off a pass and gave Louisville the ball at their own 18.

“That was huge,” Green said about the back-to-back stops. “We always preach, bend but don’t break, and that’s hard – especially in this league. But our defense is pretty good at that and that’s what we like to do.”

On Louisville’s first play from scrimmage, Green took full advantage of the team’s momentum by going for it all on a deep pass downfield.

Green shot a rainbow over the top and into the arms of Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Michael Sheremeta, who proceeded down the left sideline all the way to the end zone for a 6-0 lead.

“He’s (Sheremeta) a quick one so I like to run him across the field,” Green said. “I put it right there for him. It was an easy pitch-and-catch for us.”

Back on the field, the Louisville defense stepped up again, as Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 3rd Class Thomas Carter intercepted the team’s second pass of the game to hand the offense the ball at its own 35.

Four plays later, Green dropped back from the Jefferson City 19 and rifled a bullet to Schmidt, who was standing just inside the goal line for a touchdown a 12-0 advantage.

Just before halftime, the Louisville defense forced Jefferson City to punt from their own 15.

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Tyre Smith received the kick at the 35, dodged past a couple of defenders and took it to the house on a 45-yard punt return for six points and an 18-0 lead at the break.

The second half started off the same way as the first, with the Louisville stepping up to keep Jefferson City off the scoreboard.

After stopping Jefferson City on downs, the Louisville offense quickly marched down the field and into enemy territory behind two keepers by Green.

Facing a third-and-four from the 24, Green lobbed a perfect pass down the left sideline to Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 3rd Class Elijah Fogler, who made the grab and beat the defense to the end zone for a touchdown and 24-0 lead.

Jefferson City finally managed to get on the scoreboard, but that was all the Louisville defense would allow. The big “D” got two more interceptions, one by Carter (his second of the game) and another by Fogler to secure the win.

“Every mistake I made, I knew in the back of my mind that I’ve got a solid defense behind me and they’re going to get my back,” Green said.

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Category: Sports