By Scott Prater
Bob Black found Zach Probasco in the right corner of the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown completion in overtime Tuesday, lifting Players Pool to a 12-6 victory against the 4th Space Operations Squadron.
Players Pool remained unbeaten with the win, while 4 SOPS suffered its first defeat of the Schriever Intramural Flag Football League season.
“I had a feeling that route was going to be open earlier in the game,” Probasco said. “I told Bob I thought my defender would bite on the pump fake and he did, so I was able to get open after that and Bob threw a perfect ball.”
In a mostly defensive struggle, Players Pools scored midway through the second half to break a scoreless tie. From there, all it needed to do was maintain possession and run out the clock.
Nick Goirigolzarri disrupted that plan when he stepped in front of a Black pass with less than four minutes to play in regulation and returned the interception 50 yards to tie the game at 6-6.
“Black is probably the most deceptive quarterback in the league,” Goirigolzarri said. “He reads defensive coverages well, eludes pass rushers and finds his receivers. In this case, I noticed the receiver on the outside kept running a slant and Bob kept looking it off the whole game, but I could tell he wanted to throw it eventually. I was just able to jump the route.”
The touchdown ended up being 4 SOPS’s only score of the game.
“We were able to put a lot of pressure on their QBs and take away their time and space,” said Black, Players Pool co-team captain. “We have to thank our pass rushers, Brian Weiss, Brian Peterson and Probasco, for creating that pressure. Our rush was a big part of our success last season and it looks like it will be again this year.”
Goirigolzarri and Jeff Brown traded possessions at quarterback for 4 SOPS, which moved the ball at will on occasion but never could mount a sustained drive. Part of that came due to the Players Pool defenders, such as Craig Armogida, who blanketed 4 SOPS wideout Tom Fow for most of the game and swatted away several would-be touchdown completions.
“We just tried to get our size and speed on their size and speed,” Black said. “Armogida gives up a bit of height to Fow, but he’s a good jumper and managed to get a hand in on pretty much everything they threw at him.”
Players Pool’s no-huddle, spread offense had an equally tough time moving the ball for most of the game, however, Black and company finally got going midway through the second half, when they drove the length of the field and punctuated their scoring drive with a silent snap-count toss from Black to Terry Baxter.
Brown, Goirigolzarri and 4 SOPS dropped to 1-1 on the season, but have plenty to look forward to.
“Our defense played really well today and kept us in the game,” Goiriglozarri said. “We’ve got some kinks to work out offensively, but once we do that, I think we’re going to be very competitive in this league.”