NIOC answers critics with huge victory

NIOC quarterback Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Jermaine Carmenia rolls to his right, while looking for a receiver.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Following a surprise defeat at the hands of the 324th/392nd Intelligence Squadron Tigers in week five, many people were questioning if the Navy Information Operation s Command (NIOC) Hawaii Anchors were viable contenders for this year’s intramural flag football championship.

Facing a must-win situation against the unbeaten 747th Communication Squadron (747 CS) Marauders in a battle of top dogs in the Red Division on Oct. 23, the Anchors may have put those questions to rest by grinding out a tough 7-0 victory.

The showdown at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, will definitely go down as one of the all-time classics as each team brought their best effort in a tension-filled game that had fans clinging to their seats from start to finish.

The win raised NIOC back into contention for the top spot in the division with a record of 4-2, while the Marauders fell to 5-1 and are now one game behind of division leaders Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center, who is the only team with a perfect 6-0 mark.

Next week, NIOC will square off against PACOM/JIOC in a 7 p.m. showdown at Earhart Field, Oct. 30.

NIOC team captain Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class John Posey said that while the pressure was on against the Marauders, he felt that if the team stayed focused, things would be all right.

“First off, the pressure isn’t the big thing, it’s the focus that is what’s necessary for us,” Posey acknowledged. “We make sure that we put in the effort every Sunday, we stick to the task at hand and we try to master what we can to produce a win each game.”

In order to “produce” a win over the Marauders, NIOC had one major obstacle to take care of and that was to keep Senior Airman Jamal Jones in control.

Jones, one of the most dangerous players in flag football at Joint Base, had never been held scoreless in a game this season, until NIOC stepped up and put up a wall between Jones and the end zone.

NIOC defensive captain Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 3rd Class Caleb Bunicardi said that having trust in each other was the biggest weapon they used in keeping Jones from running wild.

“We just have a ton of faith in the guys who are out there,” said Bunicardi, who revealed that he just played in his next to last game of the season. “We made the necessary adjustments. Everybody knows what they got to do, everybody knows their job, and we trust everybody to do their job.”

Late in the first half, NIOC had possession of the ball at the Marauders 36, after stopping the 747 on downs.

After misfiring on his first pass from scrimmage, NIOC quarterback Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Jermaine Carmenia took another chance over the top and found Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Shawn Hackworth with a perfect rainbow into his arms for a touchdown and 7-0 lead after converting the point-after.

The Marauders had one golden opportunity to tie the game midway through the second half, but after driving down to the NIOC three-yard line, the 747 ran out of downs and failed to get into the end zone.

After pulling off the Anchor’s biggest win of the season, Posey pointed to the team’s ability to come together as the main reason why NIOC handed the Marauders their first loss of the season and first shutout, after averaging nearly 40 points per game.

“The character of our team is defined by our family,” he stated. “It’s about team first. We come out and play NIOC football and recognize that whoever is out here, they represent the whole team. We’re human like everybody else, but we got teammates that stand up for one another.”

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Category: Sports