Second shutout by defense preserves NIOC win

Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Robert Johnson breaks free en route to a 40-yard, catch-and-run touchdown.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

For the second game in row, the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii Anchors defense took control and helped the team record another shutout in a 19-0 victory over the 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) Oct. 9 in a Red Division intramural flag football game at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win was a much-needed salve for 2016 JBPHH flag football champions, who got word earlier in the day that an early-season win, a 41-6 bashing of JBPHH Security Zero Fox Trot, was ruled a forfeit, thus ending their undefeated season. The penalty was levied by MWR intramural sports for the Anchors’ use of an ineligible player.

Still, even with the assessed loss, the Anchors hold an outstanding record of 3-1, which is only one game off the pace of the 747th Communication Squadron (747 CS) Marauders and Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC).

Since the player in question was removed from the Anchors’ roster, the offense hasn’t exploded like it did early in the season — despite the efforts of wideout and team captain Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class John Posey, who has been burning it up this season with his speed and athleticism in averaging two touchdowns per game.

Not to worry, because at this stage in the season, give NIOC any type of lead, and the defense will make it stand.

While the team’s current imbalance may put pressure on the defense, defensive team captain Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 3rd Class Caleb Bunicardi said that he isn’t worried.

“There is none (pressure) at all,” said Bunicardi, who had one pick six early in the season and added another interception late in the game against the 15 MDG.

“We’re out here to have fun and we have a ton of faith in our offense. Sure, there have been times when the offense has lagged in the first half, but there have been times where we’ve lagged.”

On the first drive of the game, NIOC got out to a good start, as QB Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Jermaine Carmenia needed only three plays to reach pay dirt.

The first score came on an outstanding run by Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Robert Johnson, who caught a short toss by Carmencia at the 40, before taking it all the way to the house for a quick lead.

Later in the first half, NIOC got the ball in good field position at the 15 MDG 31, and then proceeded to complete a short drive on a 12-yard scoring pass from Carmencia to Posey.

In the second half, Posey gave the NIOC defense a three score cushion and in the process, added another highlight-reel play to hi sal ready spectacular season.

With the ball deep in NIOC territory at the 18, Carmenia flicked the ball over the stretched out arms of a defender and dropped it into the hands of Posey at the 22.

Posey eluded the first tackle and then outran the entire 15 MDG defensive backfield for a 58-yard, catch-and-run touchdown that made it 19-0.

The lead was more than enough, as the NIOC defense put the final clamps on its second consecutive shutout.

Besides the interception by Bunicardi, Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 2nd Class Chris Perez got his second pick in two games.

“We come out with the mentality that we’re the best people on the field and we love to prove that to everybody,” Bunicardi stated. “We’re the championship team. We’re out here to prove that. We’re out here to win it all. There are no free games. We’re out here to shut out every opponent that we play. That’s the goal. Mercy rule every game.”

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Category: Sports