Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Victorious Sekrit Flag Football-Midseason Review Weeks 1&2

My wife has reminded me, once again, that I do have other interests in life. One of those is football. While I love my Auburn Tigers, this year has been painful for we armchair QBs. The best way to relieve the tension is to get out there and play some football!

Now, before you wife selected the name Victorious Sekrit. I love it. And yes, we wear PINK shirts.

As an Alum from UAH, I am allowed to participate in the intramural. I have played flag football for 5-6 years. I have had some low to moderate success. First few years were rough, but you find people who play at your level and share your level of dedication. Starting 3 years ago, I started getting a core group of friends together whom I could depend on. These friends come from all different areas of my interests. Josh is my fishing buddy. Naaman is the brother of an old friend. Justin and Josh P, whom are brothers, are car guys like me. Nick played football with me in high school. He played corner and safety with me and we have a lot of history together of playing the sport. I met my friend Chris via the NASA softball league. The rest of the team is comprised of guys I met playing football in previous years or picked them up via free agency.

Last year I wasn't very serious on free agents. In fact, I didn't pick up more than 1 or 2. Come mid and late season, the 10 regulars I had had dwindled all the way to nothing because of injury. So, this year, I decided that I would get as many players as I could. I REALLY wanted to run full offenses and defenses with little go-betweeners.

After a few weeks of gathering agents, I had approx 20 names. After a few practices, the numbers dropped some, but I had a group of 14-16 guys that were showing up, off and on. We installed an offense and selected a QB. Now, I know everyone THINKS they want to be QB, but take it from someone who has been forced to play QB every SUCKS! One of the guys I picked up, Ethan, had played QB for another team. He expressed interest in playing QB again. So, we had a try out. After a few practices, we had two QBs I could trust with Ethan really taking control of the offense.

Our offense is a pro-type set that relies heavily on running and disciplined route running. Our defense is a zone type defense built around bending and not breaking against the big play. We will give up short stuff and force them to march down the field. Of course, you never know how it's going to work until you get out there and play.We have enough players that most everyone plays either offense or defense. I, personally, play corner on the defense and call all the offensive plays.

There are 8 teams in our division. The first few weeks, you don't know anything about the level of competition you are up against. So, the first game is really a game whee you try not to beat yourself.
Unfortunately, we had a small case of beating ourselves that first game.

 The first possession, the defense held tough but our offense sputtered. On the next defensively possession, we forced the team into a 4th and very long, but a breakdown in the secondary gave them an easy touchdown. They went for the extra point and missed it. On the next possession, we marched the ball down the field and scored. 6-6.
With Ethan, our QBs, ability to run, we dialed up a QB draw. He scrambled and extended the ball over the plane of the goal line. The Ref right next to him called it "good". 7-6...right?

Think again. The other Ref, from across the field...behind the line...waved it off and said he didn't get in! The score stood at 6-6. With time running short, they decided to bomb us. More specifically, me. But, again that "no body behind you" mentality, when observed, will produce results. I stayed at home, the ball went in the air, and I snagged the deep ball clean, scampered up the sideline to about the 10 yard line.

From the 10 yard line with 5 seconds left, snapped the ball, Ethan rolled right. The receivers rolled right and Josh, who plays center, rolled left. Ethan delivered the ball and Josh made a spring to the goal line. But, he was 1 yard short when his flag was pulled. DANGGIT!

We got the ball for the first possession and scored quickly, but once again, couldn't convert. No matter. We were up on them and managed to coralle their offense....until another breakdown on a long ball scored them another easy TD. 12-12 going into the extra point. But here is where I made a classic mistake. I was playing corner all afternoon and doing a pretty good job of it on the guy they matched me up again. Suddenly, a different dude came out as the wideout. And he was a full foot taller than the other guy and about a foot and a half taller than me. I should have immediately checked off and let a taller guy guard him. I knew where the ball was going. But, here it came and there he went. They tossed the ball high and the guy snagged it.
Next thing we knew, it was 13-12. Game over. 0-1. What a way to start the season. But, one thing was for sure. This team was good. I have been on several decent flag teams and have played some really good ones and this team was a good team.

So, we took practice that next week and worked on some things. Namely, never letting a receiver behind the safety. I picked up a late free agent named Jon, whom is 6'4'' and can play. He makes a terrific safety. Now I had someone to swap with me if they line up a tall receiver. Offensively, we didn't change much.

Game two was a beautiful day and my mom and the kids came to watch
The game on week two started out....interesting. We scored easily on the first possession. So easy that I wondered about the level of competition that we were playing. On their first play of scrimmage on offense, they bombed us long. Again. Now, I admit that we were playing some guys on defense that didn't normally play because some of the guys were late. But, the concept isn't that tough, yet, it was tied. We sputtered on offense on our last possession of the half, but they hit ANOTHER long gainer on us when we decided that we didn't know how to pull flags. Then then scored on a nice throw in the back corner of the endzone. We went into halftime down a score. Not where an offense who is a nickle-and-dime, run first, offense wants to be.

So, with help from the other guys, I made some offensive changes. We had noticed that they were biting on all of our short routes....hard. So, first possession we had on offense, we set up a 1-2-3 punch of run-short pass-double move bomb. It worked flawlessly and our receiver, Clay, found himself in the endzone all alone.

Defensively, we shut down the long ball, but they made some changes and started throwing it underneath. they would run their outside receiver off then slip the running back or center underneath. So, we made a change and let the safety go "man-on" the wideout and I, the corner, stayed at home. We started eating them up again. Stopped flat.

We got the ball back and went right back to what we were doing. Except this time, instead of sending Clay on the deep route, we sent Nathan. Run. Short pass. Double move bomb. 6 points. I was loving calling the plays. Here is Nick and I calling plays. Here comes the run:
Then ya BOMB 'EM
We were up 19-13 and hadn't been stopped yet. We were eating up the yardage....almost too fast. But, we made another stop on defense and went right back to the well, except we threw it to the far side of the field to Henry, who plays a TE/wideout on the left side of the offense. They had written him off and next thing you know, he was in the endzone. 25-13 with only a few minutes to go. They did manage to punch it in, but it was mostly because we wanted the ball in order to control the clock. We kneeled on the ball and won 25-20. The other team were great sportsman and we kneeled in prayer after the game.

The score wasn't great, but as we got to thinking, we had 3 bad defensive plays. 2 long balls and 1 bad flag pull. Offensively, we had 2 incomplete passes ALL GAME. So, 1-1 at that point!