Looking at the weather report before the drive down the team was preparing for a hot, humid tournament with some familiar opponents. We packed up our cars with an assortment of red and white jerseys for the rookies without full kits and the invaluable shade tent before driving 11 hours into the heat.
The schedule for Saturday morning pool play had us in for 4 consecutive games. Before 9:00am the tournament directors shortened all games to 13 points with half at 7 and called for mandatory heat timeouts once a team hit 4 and 10 points respectively. It was finally time for the boys to fire up the legs and start putting some points on the board. Our first matchup against Kansas City Smokestack went by as expected with D-line clamping down hard and causing the break train to leave the station early, taking the W 13-4. The fields were cooking but the team stayed mentally checked in and we survived moving on to face the 5thseeded Mallard. The boys representing the Minnesota Grey Duck college program came out ready to play but were quickly missing the pond waters as we went duck hunting on a 4-2 start before the heat timeout. Mallard made a push after halftime to bring the game within two before we re-grouped our boys together to roast that duck for good. Final score 13-9.
Next up saw the 8th seeded Scythe from Nebraska start the game strong and Strike finally saw our first moments of adversity going down 7-5 at half. The summertime swelter was at an all-time high as teammates wrung out the sweat from our jerseys to make ourselves 5 pounds’ lighter providing us with the extra speed we needed to get some all-important turnovers to push the game back on serve. From there our O-line kept us in the game while D-line intensity ramped up and we managed to close out the game on top 12-11, proving that Canada still has the better tasting beer. With finishing pool play 3-0 the 4thgame of the day wouldn’t affect our matchup in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The game was played, and the record books speak for themselves with a 13-7 win.
Our quarterfinal matchup was set against 6thseeded Imperial. We started on D-line and our junk sets provided some quick turnovers. O-line took a hiatus as D-line kept rolling. With break chants going up from Gil Binnun and echoed by the team we pounded Imperial to a 13-4 win. Our semi-final match up was against 7thseed Swans. D-line started out strong with a couple breaks early on to get the team going. From there it was an all-out slug fest as Quinn Snider and Stephen Crew took flight to crown their match-ups ending the game 11-8.
The finals were set with 1stseed Yogosbo representing Madison Club from Wisconsin taking on the boys from the north. Yogosbo came out strong with 3 breaks in a row to put us down 1-4 by the first heat timeout. But Strike didn’t drive 11 hours for nothing, so we re-grouped under the tree of life for some inspiration before setting out to get the game back in our hands. O-line held to put the D-line on. From there a change of playstyle to a backhand force and junky vertical stack defence caused Yogosbo to either throw the 50-50 shot or force the high stall throw into our grasp. With the game tied 7-7 it was now a drag race to the finish with both teams going all out. With hard cap coming down fast Yogosbo broke late to take the lead 10-9 on a dropped backfield pass on our own goal line. The boys didn’t make the same mistakes twice and held to tie it all up at 10-10 before Yogosbo used their final timeout to force universe point. Alan Scarth and company drew up a masterful D-line to start the point and with a combination of tight handler defense and taking away the underneath cuts we managed to get the turnover. After an injury call and a timeout near the goal line we finally took the ship with Cam Burden passing up line to a wide-open Quinn Snider.