By Scott Prater
Paul Kelly found Shane Adams for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds remaining in regulation to send Sept. 15’s intramural flag football game into overtime, but Kelly and his Security Forces Squadron teammates couldn’t move the ball in the extra frame and suffered a heart-breaking 14-13 defeat to Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center.
MDIOC’s defense held SFS to no gain on four consecutive plays in overtime, and MDIOC quarterback Kyle Buck followed by completing a five-yard pass to seal the win.
“We knew coming in that this would be an important game for our playoff chances, so we went over some things in practice and used them to prepare,” Buck said. “It seems like they paid off. We had a lot more quick routes and our receiver’s were more aware of their surroundings and coming back to me for the ball more.”
Thanks to stifling defensive play, both teams struggled to move the ball early, but MDIOC (3-1) got untracked midway through the first half. Buck capped a six-play scoring drive when he rolled to his right and found Mark Lomenick in the end zone.
A sloppy passing game hurt SFS (1-3) for much of the first half, but Kelly began finding success on the ground. He picked up several first downs with his feet and led a concerted scoring threat just before the halftime whistle, but SFS came away empty handed following its fifth dropped pass of the game.
SFS kept momentum early in the second half as Kelly ran for two first downs then hit Adams on a long completion for the first of his two scores.
The game remained tied for most of the second half. SFS lineman Ray Soliz recorded three quarterback sacks and defensive back Jason Ravitt clamped an MDIOC scoring threat with a key interception.
But Buck and his receivers finally managed to put something together late. MDIOC took possession with a 1:11 remaining. Buck quickly found Lomenick along the right sideline, then scrambled for another first down. Following a blocking-in-the-back penalty, Buck rolled to his left and threw a dart to Joe Osborne in the front corner of the end zone.
MDIOC players celebrated what they thought was the winning score, but their conversion failed and Security Forces had nine seconds left.
“Everybody knew what we had left, I just sent everybody long and threw it as hard as could,” Kelly said. “I was just going for it all and saying prayers.”
Adams beat two MDIOC defenders for the pass, then juked two others on his way for the game-tying score. Unfortunately for SFS, Kelly’s conversion pass bounced off the hands of his intended receiver.
Still in shock from watching the miraculous touchdown play, MDIOC players breathed a sigh of relief.
“Going into overtime I wanted to play defense first so we would know what we needed to do on offense,” Buck said. “It worked out great for us. We pulled guys off the line, broke them into coverage and rushed linebackers from the outside to try to give him (Kelly) a different look and make him uncomfortable. We ended up getting good coverage on defense, so all we needed was those five yards.”
Both teams have two games remaining in the regular season and sports director Ed Molloy said a decision has not been made as to how many teams will qualify for the playoffs.