By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Throwing an interception on third and goal during the opening drive of the second half was about the only thing that went wrong for the 4th Space Operations Squadron during the intramural flag football championship game as they defeated the 50th Security Forces Squadron, 25-0, here Oct. 15.
“We feel great, we feel excited,” said Sivad Pope, 4 SOPS team captain. “We had a rough year last year and we were able to come together and have fun this year. That’s the goal, have fun, and win, of course.”
Quarterback Mike Owens ran in two scores and threw for another, keeping the passing game going despite a strong crosswind during the game. His only mistake was the interception in the second half.
“The wind played a factor,” Pope said. “We don’t get paid to play and to throw against [the wind] is rough.”
4 SOPS was able to take advantage of the conditions defensively, picking off 50 SFS three times, including a pick-six two plays after Owens’ interception.
“Our gameplan was to take away the underneath routes,” said Justin Franklin, 4 SOPS team captain. “We wanted to force them to try to throw deep.”
4 SOPS was looking to avenge a 20-14 defeat at the hands of 50 SFS in the regular season.
“They’re a good team,” Franklin said. “They whooped us pretty good the first time.”
50 SFS was able to move the ball well to begin the game, taking the opening possession down to the 4 SOPS 28-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Owens hooked up with Seth Miller for a 40-yard pass to the 50 SFS 20-yard line. Owens ran it in from the 5 two plays later to open the scoring. Miller just got his feet down in bounds on the conversion play to make it 7-0.
Miller picked off a deep pass attempt on 50 SFS’ next possession. On the next play, Owens found Tony Strickland down the sideline for a leaping catch, Strickland then made a juke and was off to the races, going 42 yards for the touchdown. The conversion attempt failed, giving 4 SOPS a 13-0 lead at halftime.
“We have a lot of good athletes,” Franklin said. “We ran a lot of short routes and let them just catch and run.”
4 SOPS was able to march down to the 6 on the opening possession of the second half, but an interception on third down looked like it could swing the momentum to 50 SFS. Following a run for a first down, Strickland jumped an underneath route and ran 25-yards to give 4 SOPS a 19-0 lead.
A 50 SFS catch-and-run that went for more than 20 yards on the next possession was nullified by offsetting penalties, and Miller snagged his second pick of the game to give 4 SOPS a chance to put the game away.
Owens closed out the game with his second touchdown run, this time from 13 yards.