MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The parking lot was packed for the Commanding General’s Intramural Football League championship game at Felix Field Nov. 15, 2011, where the undefeated HQBN Bulldawgs crushed the MCCES Mustangs in a 34-6 victory.
The game started out slow, each team careful not to let the other get the advantage. The Bulldawgs led with a strong offense, looking for a hole in the Mustangs’ defensive line. When the time came, they seized it.
In the middle of the first quarter, the Mustangs’ offense lost control of the football, a mistake the Bulldawgs did not hesitate to take advantage. They caught the ball after a fumble by the Mustangs, only a few yards away from the end zone and sprinted it the rest of the way for the first touchdown of the game.
The Mustangs were determined to make up for this mistake.
As the game spilled over into the second quarter, the Bulldawgs were had more trouble getting through the Mustangs’ defense. The Mustangs drove the ball to their opponents’ end zone, charging through the Bulldawgs’ defensive line, and tying the score.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, their touchdown only fueled the Bulldawgs to play harder.
With nine seconds left in the second quarter, the Bulldawgs scored another touchdown. But they did not stop there. Bulldawgs quarterback, Kameron Yellin, completed a two-point conversion, bringing his team to an eight-point lead.
But the championship was on the line and Bulldawgs’ coach, John Maddox, would not let himself or his team make the mistake of getting cocky.
“You think that lead is enough, it’s not,” said Maddox to the Bulldawgs players formed around him during half-time. “Play all out.”
The Bulldawgs’ focus on the prize led them to another touchdown in the 3rd quarter by the team’s wide receiver Arnell Rivers.
After working the ball up the field, Yellin made a clean throw to Rivers, who was waiting unguarded at the end zone.
“I knew I had them beat,” said Rivers. “It felt good.”
After three touchdowns and a conversion it seemed obvious which team would go home victorious.
However, neither team let up. They continued to play as if the next play would decide the championship.
The Bulldawgs went on to score another two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs didn’t put any more points on the board.
After the game, both teams lined up at the 50-yard line, where the coveted championship trophy sat on top of a table, ready to be presented to the Bulldawgs’ coach.
After a brief speech about the storybook, undefeated season the Bulldawgs held, Maddox accepted the trophy on behalf of his team and his entire battalion as his players cheered and the crowd applauded.
Maddox ended the night with parting words that revealed just what kind of determination it takes to win a championship.
“Practice on Monday, 17:30.”