Story and photo by Walt Johnson
Mario Molina was the star of stars Saturday as he led Measure This to the first Mountain Post Bowl flag football championship 25-13.
Molina, a 13-year-old who will be attending Fountain-Fort Carson High School in the fall, was the unquestioned offensive star of the day, hauling in one pass after another from his father Gordon Molina, the team’s quarterback. Not only did Molina catch passes, he also threw a few passes and ran the ball on occasion.
Molina was not the only person on the field that had a good offensive day, but it seemed like whenever he touched the ball good things were happening for his team. At one point in the championship game with only one score separating the two teams, Molina hauled in a pass for a crucial first down that kept the momentum on the side of Measure This and led to the team’s victory.
The tournament was run by the Fort Carson Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. The proceeds from the tournament will support the Fort Carson Youth Services Center which partnered with the club to help put on the show. Thomas Russell Witt, president of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, was pleased with the turnout and success of the tournament. He said the final game was a microcosm of the entire tournament and for that the Audie Murphy Club members were happy.
“I would like to thank everyone once again for coming out to support the tournament. We got just what we wanted for the tournament, which was a good tournament, and for the final game, which was a great game,” Witt said.
It was a great game because New Era, the team that finished second, had a lot of quality athletes of its own. The team was led by John Burrell, who, if sheer will could have won a game, would have willed his team to victory. Burrell was the voice heard over all others as he encouraged and led his team into the title game.
Burrell led a furious second-half rally that saw New Era marching toward what could have been a game-tying or winning drive as he made one catch after another to help move his team down the field. Just when it looked like the game would go down to the last minute before it was decided, a Measure This defender stepped in front of a pass and raced into the end zone to give his team an insurmountable two touchdown lead with just over two minutes left in the game. After the game, Burrell explained the difference between victory and defeat between the two evenly-matched teams.
“Football is a game of heart and determination. This was about sacrifice and seeing who had the ultimate will. They played a good game and they just had a little more of that ultimate will today than we had. We got caught up in some of the calls that we didn’t agree with and let them get to our heads and that got us out of our focus,” Burrell said.
Gordon Molina was the quarterback and leader of the Mountain Post Bowl champions. He said the team was put together with athletes from the battalion and a “special young athlete that happens to be his son.”
He said the key to victory for his team was having athletes that took advantage of the openings the defense gave it.
“We put this team together within the battalion because we wanted to come out to support this tournament. I also brought my 13-year-old son out to play with us and he made some significant contributions,” Gordon Molina said. “The difference in this game was we were able to figure out what they wanted to do on offense and we adjusted our defense to what they want to do. On offense, every one of our receivers ran the route we wanted to run when I called the play. That way there was no confusion about where they needed to be. I was able to go to each one of my checks when I had to and was able to find open receivers. I knew where I wanted to go with the ball each time I threw it,” Molina said.