MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The Hustlers earned victory, revenge and a championship trophy by beating their rival SOCPAC in the Camp Smith Intramural Flag-Football Championship 15-6 here today.
Both teams had been waiting and preparing for this rematch after SOCPAC handed the Hustlers their only loss early in the regular season.
This victory gave the Hustlers a 6-1 record for the season ending it on a high note.
“We took home the trophy – if that tells you anything,” said Paul Bowman, Hustlers’ wide receiver, when asked how he thought the game went.
SOCPAC didn’t just hand the win over to the Hustlers. They made them work for it.
Good coverage by their secondary kept the usually high-scoring Hustlers’ game down to a minimum. It was secondary player Van Woodruff’s key interception and subsequent touchdown that kept SOCPAC from being shut out.
Ultimately the Hustlers’ offensive superiority could not be completely stopped. Eric Henzler, Hustlers’ go-to wide receiver had a great game with several 30-40-yard kick returns and the first touchdown of the game. Anthony Taylor, Hustlers’ running back, put up six points after a blazing run to the corner of the end zone.
An error by SOCPAC’s offense also helped bolster the Hustlers’ score by two points. Only a few yards from their goal line, a botched snap ended up in the end zone, resulting in a safety. Unlike normal football, the rules of this flag-football league state that when a ball is fumbled it is a dead ball on the spot it is dropped.
In the final minutes of the game, the Hustlers’ offense began to wane and SOCPAC was quick to take advantage. Their defense pressed hard and was able to hold the Hustlers. Their offense pressed even harder and began to push down field with short but effective passes. In the end, the Hustlers’ defense would only bend – not break.
Bowman brought down an interception, putting the ball back in the Hustlers’ hands, who then bled the clock for time, ending and winning the game.
A lack of interest prevented a flag-football league from starting in four years here. Now the Hustlers will go down in the books as the resurrected league’s first champion.