Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SOFA recap, sterilization edition

4/18: In a game featuring two of SOFA’s more historically stacked teams, T-Pain (Dustin, Kenny, Tyree, Jack, Larry) beat T-Boned (Joe, Jerome, Ian, Travis, Sam) 72-66.

That the game was as close as it was is a testament to the refusal of TB to give up. Down by as much as 26 points, TB clawed back into in the game by, per Jerome’s request, just having fun. It was tough, but having fun seemed to work. The commissioner hereby orders players to have more fun out there.

Both teams’ offenses ably marched down the field throughout the game; the wild card for TP was a run of timely interceptions. For the second straight week, Dustin and his crazy hands notched a long pick-six off Ian and his even crazier hands. Tyree later followed suit against Joe, though he didn’t go the distance, thus snapping his extended streak of pick-six games. For TB, that’s almost better than winning. Still, the resultant series led to a score that helped TP pull away further.

I think Jack had an interception too. I’m sure he could recount every detail of that better than I can.

Larry scored the first (and first of his many) points in the game. Tyree and Jack split time at quarterback for TP, employing a sterling offensive scheme that exploited the numerous gaps in TB’s “What are we doing” defense. Kenny was unusually silent this week, scoring only several times.

But TB was able to get back into the game with an improved defense and key stops on fourth down, as well as stepping up the offensive effort (i.e., scoring). Joe ran a tight ship at quarterback for TB, spreading the ball around. Travis and Sam did more than their share of work by catching short passes and scoring with regularity. Later in the game, Ian sought to draw defenders off Jerome and Sam in an attempt to get them open. Travis successfully employed crossing patterns to keep TB in the game near the end.

It didn’t help, at the outset, that Jerome couldn’t hold on to the ball for anything. This wasn’t entirely his fault; the ball’s only been out of the box for three weeks, and pretty much everybody was dropping it more than they should have. I guess it seemed to happen more to Jerome because he’s such a solid go-to guy. I mean, no one ever says, “Ian dropped the ball? What’s going on here?!!” But Jerome, like a certain Super Bowl-winning receiver named Marques Colston, got the first-time jitters out of his system halfway through the first half and never looked back, returning to his naturally score-happy ways. Eventually, the rest of the team also got over their fear of fourth downs.

Ian fared well as a receiver this week, catching most of his passes, including three touchdowns. He recovered his only fumble, forced by a zealous Larry at the goal line, with his legs. And no one will ever take that away from him, literally or metaphorically. Ian also made up for a near-interception on one play by catching one on the very next down and running it back for a substantial gain.

Near the end, Dustin intercepted a two-point conversion try and knelt it, thus proving to TB that it’s possible to feel disappointed and relieved at the same time. By then, it didn’t matter; TP had the ball and the game in the bag, with the final gun sounding on the least necessary Hail Mary pass ever. Good game, good game, good game and all that.

Game balls:

Player of the game: Larry, just for showing up.

Player of every game: Dustin. Bloody Dustin.

Plane crazy: After an early touchdown in which Ian executed a perfect Reggie Bush leap to lunge the ball into the end zone before getting his flag pulled, reaching out became a common thread throughout the day. Several TDs and PATs came down to just penetrating the plane, while others stopped just shy despite similar efforts. As per SOFA custom, these plays largely depended on which cone you were looking at, because straight boundaries have never been our strong point.

Hello Larry: One of SOFA’s charter players, Larry returned from extended paternity leave and picked right up where he left off, scoring several touchdowns and PATs. He said he was compelled to take the field for, as he put it, “sterilization.” OK, that’s completely out of context, but he didn’t give me any of his usual age-related material to work with this week. He’s old. How old? Almost as old as Jack. So, not really that old.

Sausage festivities: Halftime entertainment consisted of someone realizing that no women were playing, and all of us naming past female players and speaking reverently of their respective fates. TB further spoke of how we could really have used Emily at that point.

Sarah Palin impression of the week: Tyree wore a play sleeve favored by real quarterbacks, which upon closer inspection actually contained an ample playbook’s worth of play calls for reference. Why he doesn’t just get a tattoo on his forearm that says, “Black 90,” is beyond me.

Barack Obama impression of the week: Ian, whose ankle, arm and head injuries highlight the need for better health care.

Quotes of the game: Ian: “I want to take safety this series.” Joe: “No, we need someone fast.”

Quotes of the pre-game (After Ian chose Tyree and Travis as captains): Ian: “This way, each team has a former MSU star.” Travis: “Well, who’s the other team’s star?”

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