Maintenance Group in driver’s seat for postseason bid

Senior Airman Aaron Maxwell bats the ball away from Staff Sgt. Carl Sanders with Sgt. Danny Anuyen trailing the play.

Senior Airman Aaron Maxwell bats the ball away from Staff Sgt. Carl Sanders with Sgt. Danny Anuyen trailing the play.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In perhaps the biggest game of the season for the 15th Maintenance Group (15 MXG), Senior Airman William Jones took center stage and came up with three gigantic plays to lead the team to a 20-12 win over the 690th

Cyberspace Operations Squadron (690 COS) on Nov. 24 in a Red Division showdown at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Red Division, the MXG needed to hold off the 690 COS, which entered the game in fifth place, trailing by only one game.

The win may have all but locked up the spot for the MXG, which ended the night with a record of 7-3, while the 690 COS fell to 5-5.

Once the final whistle sounded, Jones stood as the man on the spot after his two interceptions and acrobatic catch in the end zone for a touchdown dashed the hopes of the 690 COS.

“I just came out to play,” Jones said. “I stuck with my team and believed in them.”

While the 690 COS got the ball first, it was Jones that helped the MXG gain the first big play of the game.

After 690 quarterback Airman 1st Class Spencer Davies kept the team moving forward by picking up a clutch first down on fourth-and-short, the QB, on the MXG 38, tried to connect on a pass to the middle of the field.

Jones sat back in the secondary, and then, at the very last minute, broke to the ball and picked off the pass at midfield.

Turning it upfield, Jones maneuvered through the open space before breaking out into the clear for a touchdown and 6-0 lead.

“I just took my time and let the play develop,” Jones explained. “Once I saw the quarterback look at the wide receiver, I just stepped in, ran towards the ball and grabbed it.”

The quick-hitting play gave the MXG momentum, but it was only for a short while, as Davies settled down the 690 COS and marched the team into the end zone on only four plays.

Davies finished off the 65-yard drive by connecting with Staff Sgt. Jacee Lawary for 27 yards and a touchdown to tie the score at 6-6.

The game really started to look good for the 690, when on the MXG’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Senior Airman Aaron Maxwell got picked off by Senior Airman Chris Ginder deep in MXG territory.

Looking to take full advantage of the turnover, Davies completed two passes to set the ball on the MXG 12.

However, once again, Jones was there on the spot to kill the threat with his second interception of the game.

“I guess it was just instinct,” Jones said about his second big defensive play. “I ran out to the flat and just so happened to catch it again.”

On the first drive in the first half, Maxwell picked up a long gainer with a rush out to the 690 39-yard line.

Facing third down and long, Maxwell rolled to his right and delivered a 40-yard shot into the end zone.

Jones tipped the ball up in the air and just before it came down onto the turf, he reached and came up with the loose ball for a touchdown.

“It was more of a desperation play,” Maxwell admitted. “They had pressure on me all day, so I just rolled to the side and tried to find somebody. I just trusted my arm and he (Jones) came up big.”

The one-point conversion gave the MXG a 13-6 lead and then after coming up with one final big stop in the red zone by the defense, Maxwell iced the game for good with a touchdown pass to Tech. Sgt. Adam Speights late in the game.

Maxwell said that while it feels good to get into the playoffs, he understands it’s going to be tough to reach the championship from the fourth-seed position.

Still, if the team plays together, anything can happen, Maxwell stated.

“We need to get a solid game plan on offense,” he said. “Defense is all right, so we need a good game plan.”

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Category: Sports