Speed Demons run away from Ballistic

Speed Demons receiver Logistics Specialist 1st Class Jesse Cole reaches high to pull down a pass.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Always saving the best for last, two of the top teams in the intramural flag football Afloat Division finally got a chance to meet in the final regular season game, before both teams head off to the playoffs.

The division-leading USS Missouri (SSN 780) Speed Demons held off the second-place USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) Ballistic, 38-23, to capture the division’s championship and top seed going in the playoffs.

The game was part of a triple-header at Earhart Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 10, and left the Speed Demons as the only undefeated team in the division with a record of 8-0, while Ballistic lost for only the second time this season and saw its record fall to 5-2.

“This was huge,” said Speed Demons head coach Information Systems Technician (Submarines) 1st Class Daniel Martin. “We had to come out here and make a statement win, and I think we did that.”

Feeling a sense of urgency as they matched up against Ballistic, the Speed Demons got the ball on their first possession and showed everyone that they came to play.

Starting at their own 8-yard line, quarterback Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 2nd Class Darryl Robinson needed only five plays to travel the length of the field and finished off the drive with a sweep of 3 yards into the end zone. The converted point after a touchdown gave Missouri a 7-0 lead.

However, after the touchdown, Missouri was given no time to savor the moment.

Ballistic opened a drive from its own 20 and struck right away with a long, over-the-top bomb from quarterback Operations Specialist 2nd Class Enrico Poole to Lt. Paul Winston. That move tied the score at 7-7 after the converted point after touchdown.

The tie only seemed to motivate the Speed Demons to do more, as the team immediately struck for TDs on their next two possessions to take a commanding 19-7 advantage.

The team’s second TD scored a short 6-yard pass completion in the end zone from Robinson to Culinary Specialist (Submarines) 2nd Class Reginald Pettway, while the team’s third TD came on a 19-yard pass from Robinson to Engineering Aide 2nd Class Darryl Baukman.

Coming right out of halftime, it was more of the same, as the Speed Demons took the opening drive of the second half and scored another TD on a sweep by Robinson that made it 25-7.

From there, the teams exchanged TDs, before Ballistic added another six points to draw to within eight points at 31-23.

However, the Speed Demons finally put the game away for good, when Robinson connected on his fourth TD toss of the game on a short swing pass to Machinist’s Mate, Non-Nuclear (Submarine Auxiliary) Fireman Gavin Curry for the final score.

After taking a three-score advantage, the Speed Demons allowed Ballistic to score two times, before Missouri regrouped and answered the call.

Martin said that it happens sometimes, but he likes the way the team responded to being tested.

“Sometimes you have momentary lapses, but we’re pretty good at snapping back into it,” Martin acknowledged. “Every time they (Ballistic) had the chance to stop our momentum, we got back on top of it.”

While the Speed Demons have already wrapped up the Afloat Division title, the ashore divisions still have a couple of games to finish off the season.

The delay would give Missouri a little time off going into the playoffs, but Martin said that it shouldn’t matter. He believes that the Speed Demons will create quite a stir in the postseason.

“I think we’re going to make some real noise,” Martin stated. “I’m just excited. I’ll take my Speed Demons against anybody.”

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Category: Sports