By Scott Prater
To say 11th Space Warning Squadron faced a must-win situation Sept. 22 is an understatement.
11th SWS entered its matchup against undefeated Space Integration and Development Squadron with two losses. Since only four teams qualify for the Schriever Flag Football league playoffs, the team needed a win to have even a glimmer of hope of advancing into the postseason.
11th SWS coach Craig Thompson knew his team didn’t need any reminders, but he gave them one anyway. And the team responded by scoring on all but one possession in the first half en route to a dominating 32-0 victory.
“We haven’t had any practices and I missed the first two games, but we have a lot of talented athletes on this team and I knew I just needed to get them the ball,” Thompson said.
Despite throwing a pick on 11th SWS’ first offensive series, Thompson lit up the SIDC defense in the first half. Jacob Burtschi’s interception return for a touchdown on the game’s third series didn’t hurt either.
Following an 11th SWS defensive stand, Thompson rolled right and found Burtschi on a 40-yard touchdown strike eight minutes into the game. Dan Lampe intercepted SIDC quarterback Kevin Williams on the very next play and Thompson wasted little time adding to the lead.
Burtschi cut across the middle and Thompson hit him in stride for the pair’s second score inside of a minute.
The touchdown left SIDC reeling. Entering the game with a 4-0 record and atop the league standings, the team has been unaccustomed to trailing this season. Hampered by a serious head wind and minus a few key players, SIDC couldn’t get its passing game untracked.
“Our starting quarterback and leading receiver weren’t here,” said SIDC coach Brian Brumbaugh. “Trying to figure out who was going to quarterback for us was tough. We had some great players try to fill in, but when you try and play with a guy people aren’t used too… that hurt us”
Despite a fierce crosswind, 11th SWS broke out its playbook in the second half. Thompson tossed a backward pass to Burtschi who then heaved a 40-yard bomb to Korey Kuykendall for a touchdown on the team’s first play from scrimmage.
Thompson was able to scramble away from pressure for the entire game and he did so again on the team’s next series, which ended with another long touchdown toss to Kuykendall. That play gave Thompson his third touchdown on the day and 11th SWS the win by virtue of the mercy rule.
Thompson indicated he had no desire to run up the score, but the team needed to put up as many points as possible as a way of insuring a playoff berth.
“Total points could be a tiebreaker if several teams end the regular season with the same record,” he said. “Since only four teams qualify, it was important for us to score as much as we could.”
Meanwhile, SIDC hopes to qualify for the playoffs with a win against 50th Civil Engineer Squadron on Sept. 24.
“They have a great offense and a great defense,” Brumbaugh said of his 11th SWS opponents. “We look forward to playing them again.”