Speed Demons’ defense holds off Port Royal

Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 3rd Class Anthony Rodriguez is about to make a catch before running into the end zone for a touchdown. It was the only touchdown for the Speed Demons, but it was just enough for a 7-6 win over Port Royal.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

USS Missouri (SSN 780) Speed Demons got three interceptions from their defense to hold off USS Port Royal (CG 73) by a score of 7-6 in an Afloat Division intramural flag football matchup that was held at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Sept. 29.

The Speed Demons got on the scoreboard first with a touchdown and then tacked on the extra point before letting their defense go to work to secure the victory.

The win by the Speed Demons raises their record to 2-0, while Port Royal dropped its first game of the season to even its mark at 1-1.

Missouri failed to keep the chains moving forward on its first possession, but the team picked up some much needed momentum when the Speed Demons’ defense came up with a big stand to turn Port Royal away.

Starting at its own 22, Port Royal moved the ball all the way down to the Missouri six-yard line.

After an incomplete pass made it second and goal-to-go from the six, Port Royal quarterback Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Dalton Runneberg got sacked by Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 3rd Class Anthony Rodriguez all the way back to the 18.

Then on third down, Runneberg dropped back and aimed the ball to the corner of the end zone, only to have it picked off by Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 2nd Class Darryl Robinson to end the treat.

The interception gave the Speed Demons the ball at their own 20, where Robinson led the team’s second possession on offense.

After misfiring on his first pass, Robinson connected on three of his next for tosses to put the ball at the Port Royal 22-yard line.

Facing third and two yards to go for a first down, Robinson fired a bullet into the hands of Rodriguez, who was running a crossing patter from right to left.

Rodriguez hauled in the pass and took it all the way to the house for a touchdown and a 6-0 advantage. Robinson added the extra point on a keeper to make 7-0 in favor of the Speed Demons.

“We started developing the short routes,” Robinson said. “Once they (Port Royal) came up short, Rodriguez saw my eyes and he just went deep.”

Plays similar to that seemed to be working all day long for the Speed Demons, but misfired passes or penalties derailed Missouri’s ability to pick up any more scores.

“It’s all timing,” Robinson explained. “Now we know what to do to continue this and go 3-0. So we just got to get out here and practice and get our timing down.”

Port Royal had one more shot on offense before halftime, but Machinist’s Mate, Non-Nuclear, (Submarine Auxiliary) 1st Class Nick Ortiz grabbed his first of two picks to end the first half.

In the second half, Port Royal made a comeback after Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dre Clark stopped a Missouri drive with an interception at the Port Royal 16.

Five plays later at the Missouri 30, Runneberg ran an option down the right side of the field, before tossing the ball back to teammate Electrician’s Mate 1st Class John Gee, who ran the rest of the way into the end zone. Port Royal failed on its point-after-touchdown attempt and that turned out to be the difference in the game.

On final interception by Ortiz put the game away for good in favor of the Speed Demons.

“Defense is the backbone of this team,” Robinson said. “I definitely think that we’re going to the playoffs. We’re definitely going to win the ships and then we’ll go on to the ashore teams. I’m definitely excited to play them.”

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Category: Sports