Port Royal defense steps up to earn big victory

Damage Controlman 2nd Class Jacob Min points the ball forward before streaking 61 yards for a touchdown.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

USS Port Royal (CG 73) used a swarming defense to hold off USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), 18-13, on Oct. 29 in an Afloat Division intramural flag football game played at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

In total, the Port Royal defense got three interceptions to limit William P. Lawrence to only two scores, one in each half.

The win raised Port Royal’s record to 6-2, which is good enough for second place in the Afloat Division. William P. Lawrence fell to 4-4 and is on the cusp of missing the postseason.

“It was scary,” said Port Royal quarterback Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Dalton Runneberg about the close game. “They (William P. Lawrence) were blitzing a lot so we had to figure out what we were going to do. It all worked out in the end. Our defense stepped up.”

On offense, Port Royal struggled with their first possession inside the red zone. Runneberg was sacked at the 10-yard line on fourth down.

However, Runneberg got another chance at it after the defense forced William P. Lawrence to punt the ball away from inside their own end zone.

Starting at the William P. Lawrence 11-yard line, Runneberg connected on a 10-yard pass to put the ball on the one, before hitting Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Joshua Cooke in the end zone for a 6-0 lead.

The Port Royal defense then came up with its first interception of the game. Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Josh Ross’s pick set up Runneberg on the William P. Lawrence 38.

Runneberg moved the team to the 28, but facing a fourth and eight yards to go for a first, the QB got his toss picked off by Machinist’s Mate Fireman Maliq Hazlip to end the threat.

The turnover seemed to be what William P. Lawrence needed to get things moving on offense.

Starting from his own 28, quarterback Fire Controlman Aegis 2nd Class Travis Holleman used only two plays to place the football deep in Port Royal territory at the 18.

Then two plays later, Holleman scampered from the pocket and streaked into the end zone to tie the game at 6-6, which stood through halftime.

After the break, Port Royal wasted little time in retaking the lead, as the team needed only three plays to travel 65 yards for a touchdown.

On third and long from his own eight-yard line, Runneberg went deep and found Electronics Technician 3rd Class Cody Otten, who made the catch and took it all the way for a catch-and-run that covered 72 yards for six points and a 12-6 lead.

Back on top, the Port Royal defense came up big again, as the team collected its second interception of the game on a steal by Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Ryan Schuman.

Port Royal stumbled a bit on offense, losing nine yards from their own 28 all the way down to their 19.

But things turned on a dime. On first down Runneberg threw a little swing pass to the flat to receiver Damage Controlman 2nd Class Jacob Min.

Min made the catch and just as he has done in the past, got to the sideline before taking off all the way to the end zone for 61 yards and a 18-6 lead.

“That was huge,” Runneberg said. “That’s what changed momentum.”

William P. Lawrence scored one more time to draw to within five points, but that’s as close as they would get. The Port Royal defense sealed the game with one last interception by Fire Controlman Aegis 3rd Class Steven Batey.

“We know what we’re doing now,” Runneberg said about the team’s recent strong play. “Practice helps out. People know the routes. We’ve got our plays down and it’s all working out.”

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Category: Sports