Marauders rally from behind to win big

Senior Airman Jamal Jones keeps his balance as he slips past defenders for a 36-yard touchdown.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The 747th Communication Squadron (747 CS) Marauders raised their season-opening win streak to four games by coming from behind to beat Wing Staff Agency (WSA), 33-13, Oct. 9 in a Red Division intramural flag football game at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Marauders kept pace with Red Division co-leader Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center, who has also started off the season with a record of 4-0. The WSP currently owns one win against three defeats.

While the final score was a blowout, in actuality, the game was very close through the first half, with the Marauders entering halftime with a modest 18-13 lead.

In fact, it was the Marauders who struggled early in the game, as WSP scored two touchdowns in a row to take a 13-6 lead with only a few minutes remaining in the first half.

Senior Airman Jamal Jones, who just might be the most exciting flag football player on base today, was especially frustrated at the Marauders rough start.

“We couldn’t capitalize on offense,” Jones admitted. “We get nervous and once we get nervous, we start to break down. But the biggest thing was on defense. We just weren’t pulling flags. Once we started playing to the whistle, we opened the game up.”

At first, things looked fine for the Marauders, as quarterback Senior Airman Brandon Mattes took the opening drive 60 yards and topped it off with a scoring strike to Jones to take a quick 6-0 lead.

However, a huge breakdown on defense allowed WSP to tie the game at 6-6, before taking a one-point lead after the conversion.

With the ball on his own 20, WSP QB Airman 1st Class Wyatt Ford rolled to his left and just kept on going down the sideline all the way into the end zone.

Then after WSP got the ball back on a turnover, Ford, starting from the 12, completed his first two passes to put the ball on the WSP 35.

Ford then went to Staff Sgt. Jordan Buckels for two completions in a row, with the final toss going down the middle to Buckels for 34 yards and a touchdown that make it 13-6 in favor of WSP.

From that point on, it became the “Jamal Jones Show,” as the talented all-purpose player became the Marauders main point of attack on offense and defense.

Jones’ take-charge attitude paid off immediately. Just three plays into the team’s next offensive series, Jones took the ball in the backfield and dodged his way through the defense for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Next on defense, Jones took on the role as pass rusher and was instrumental in containing Ford – forcing WSP on a quick three-and-out.

With the ball back in the Marauders possession, Jones took the ball from the WSP 21 and ran it to just inside the three. From there Mattes connected with Staff Sgt. Dustin Vangordon for a touchdown to make it 18-13 in favor of the Marauders at halftime.

Jones continued his onslaught on WSP in the second half, when moments after intermission, Jones sacked Ford in the end zone for a safety and 20-13 lead.

Finally, a touchdown pass from Mattes to Tech. Sgt. Darren Pleasant and a pick six by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Lawson ended the scoring for the Marauders.

After falling behind by 13-6, the Marauders scored 27 unanswered points for the win.

“I want to score 40 (points) every game,” said Jones, who appeared to be a bit disappointed even though the Marauders won going away. “I want to be in the championship versus the 792 ISS (792nd Intelligence Support Squadron, last year’s defending champs) at the end of it.”

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Category: Sports