NSSC Kraken overwhelms CNRH/Middle Pacific

Yeoman 2nd Class Brian Haygood puts his head down to pick up extra yards after coming down with an interception.

Yeoman 2nd Class Brian Haygood puts his head down to pick up extra yards after coming down with an interception.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In Norse mythology, the Kraken was a harrowing creature that used its colossal size and numerous arms to snatch ships and drag them down to a watery grave.

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC) Kraken flag football team may not be as terrifying as their namesake, but to foes in the Red Division, the team’s defense might be just as ferocious as the fictional monster.

On Nov. 24, the NSSC Kraken defense reached up to ground Commander, Navy Region Hawaii/ Middle Pacific (CNRH/ MIDPAC) in a shutout performance that stole five passes en route to a 32-0 blitz at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win secured the Kraken’s position as the Red Division’s No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs and raised the team’s record to an impressive 8-1, while CNRH/MIDPAC fell to 2-7.

“Defense wins championships,” affirmed Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Jason Astorga, who enjoyed a big day on offense and defense. “We’ve always talked about how our defense needs to win the game. Our defense has to step it up to get those picks, sacks and everything.”

While the Kraken defense usually gets the publicity, the team’s offense is no slouch either when it comes to performing at a high level.

Armed with the ball first against CNRH/MIDPAC, Kraken quarterback Lt. Derrick Olson engineered a 65-yard drive to pay dirt that only took five plays to complete.

During the drive, Olson completed three of three passes and rushed two times to put the Kraken up by six.

The final play came on an eight-yard scoring toss to Operations Specialist 3rd Class Dylan Brune.

Following the first score, it took only two plays for the defense to rear its head when Yeoman 2nd Class Brian Haygood picked off the first pass to set the Kraken up at the MIDPAC 31.

Then on the first play from the line of scrimmage, Olson went back to Brune for the touchdown number two and a 12-0 lead.

The Kraken defense brought more of the same on MIDPAC’s next set of downs as Brune, fresh off two catches for touch-downs, got in on the act on the defense by picking off the team’s second interception of the game.

As the clock wound down going into the second half, Olson found Astorga in the end zone to pick up his third touch-down pass of the first half.

Halftime did nothing to cool off the red hot Kraken defense as the team got another turnover when Brune got his second interception of the game to place the ball at the MIDPAC 30.

Two plays later, Olson zeroed in on Astorga, who grabbed a short toss into the end zone for a 24-0 wadvantage.

The long night marched on for CCNRH/MIDPAC when the team got off only two plays on their next set of downs before Chief Yeoman Markus Howard secured pick number four for the Kraken defense.

The team made it five interceptions, when Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Brandon Finley got one late in the game.

Seven plays later, Olsen racked up touchdown pass number five on an 11-yard pass to Senior Chief Yeoman Chris Reed.

Although Kraken had already secured one of the division’s four playoff spots, Brune said that the team still came out on fire and played to win.

“We just don’t want to stop playing,” he said. “No matter who you’re playing, even if they have the worst record, you want to give it your all. It just shows how bad we want to shut everybody down, wrap it up and call ourselves champions.”

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Category: Sports