Sunday, May 13, 2007

Central Regionals 2007

All year the Hodags had planned to peak at two points in the season – it was built right into the schedule. The first of those weekends, Central Regionals would come quickly due to a late spring break. It would be difficult with only one week after the alumni game to recover and prepare. Everyone on the team was aware of the repercussions from failing to bring it at Regionals. It would mean losing control of our region and sacrificing seed for nationals.
As the Hodags took the field against Marquette, the 5th years reminded the team that it was all elimination games from that point on. Dan Miller harped, “This game against Marquette is more important than Centex finals.” Wisconsin had 11 games left in the season to play and should treat each as an opportunity to prove that the Hodags are the best team. The team might have missed that message the first time around as Marquette was playing well. The fields were looking awesome, the wind was getting ridiculous, but with only 90 discs printed, they were gone by the second game. There were several surprises on the sideline as parents and friends arrived for pool play. Gifts of food, support, and love would help the Hodags keep their intensity and poise as Saturday pressed on. “Even though it looks like it, this is no longer Sectionals,” reminded Cullen as he was psyching himself up to make some plays on the weekend. As Jesse adjusted his shades and prepared to rush the field, Marquette scored first on a deep shot 0-1. The D was stunned to have not scored, but the O was dedicated to perfection as Jimmy Foster hit Dan Heijmen deep 1-1. Again Marquette scored easily and the O was snickering at the D for not playing well. It was Matt Rebholz breaking his mark to find Foster for the 2-2 tie. Even after an Animal footblock and 3 cutters who look like thugs with Shane, Seth and Lokke on the field, Marquette was unfazed by their presence and punched it in 2-3. The Hodag O was looking to convert quickly, but a Feldman deep misread had the sideline snickering as he was quickly reminded of his freshman n00b status. It just gave Foster one more opportunity to go deep from Kevin Riley as the game evened out 3-3.
Wisconsin called a time-out because the captains were pissed. If anyone has ever heard the Colorado coaches yell at their players, it was kind of like that, only worse. Heijmen immediately went into a tirade about game time intensity, playing like a bunch of pussies, and accusations of not playing Hodag ultimate. When Dan was done – the Hodags were pumped up and ready to turn up the game speed. With all the commotion, the Black Animal had seen more than enough, as he manufactured a score all by himself, getting the last oven pass from Rebholz for the break 4-3. When breaks come, they come in waves as Scallet found Gaynor on the iso set for the 5-3 lead. Will Lokke would get a D, but Marquette would convert and stop the bleeding 5-4. Combining the Hodag O with a lead is a recipe for dominance as Feldman redeemed himself, timing a perfect deep cut from Heijmen, scoring in three passes for the 6-4 hold. Dan Miller would get a sick deep poach D over the shoulder sky, but the Defense would not be able to punch it in 6-5. It would give Foster one more chance to score as he went deep from Heijmen 7-5. Shane Hohenstein would get a D on the next point but the Defense was having trouble converting again 7-6. Dan Heijmen would finally hear the roar of the crowd as the NBA Jam announcer proclaims, “He’s on Fire!” as Dan converted his 3rd straight goal for the Hodags, going deep from J-Fo 8-6 half. Wisconsin started on O out of half and Jim Foster was, “heating up” as he jets immediately for the end zone, just flying past his defender as Rebholz bombs it deep for the 1 stop shopping goal 9-6. With the defense on the field immediately, Chris Doede would dominate, getting 2 downfield layout D’s, but the Defense could not cash in with three chances to score, only 9-7. Rebholz was determined to not be upstaged as he went directly back to J-Fo for the 10-7 lead. Matt Scallet would get the D and throw the goal to Seth for the 11-7 advantage. Marquette would finally hold on O and respond with a break on Wisconsin to bring the game to 11-9. The score made the game look close, but in reality, Marquette did not have any defender who could guard the O cutters. Riley would find Heijmen for the 12-9 lead and the D would break twice, as Animal found Foster with a midrange down the line flick and Bobby scoring from Miller on the end zone line for the 14-9 lead. Tim Pearce would finish the game scoring deep from Rebholz 15-10.
The Hodags had enough time to meander over to watch the end of the LUFDA vs. CUT game. The sideline was packed with Luther fans and Carleton was getting the worst of the heckling as the wind was stronger in the middle of the complex. Wisconsin tried not to cheer as they flirted with Carleton graduates in Rupp and Hahn. CUT would come out on top in a moderately close, but highly contested game. The Pimpdags had won their first game of the day and were looking to make a splash on the regional scene come Sunday.
Wisconsin was not happy about how the first game went and was looking to take out that aggression on someone else. That someone else turned out to be Grinell, as Madison was running a super intense Seattle drill before the start. It was never close as Scallet broke to Doede on the very first point. Muffin would hit Shane deep for the second break 2-0 and it would landslide into a beat down. Cullen Geppert had a coming out experience as he got 3 D’s, 2 of which were sick layout D’s. Cullen was so pumped that his mom fainted out of amazement that her son could put his body horizontal at 3 feet off the ground. Jeremiah threw 2 straight assists to his freshman cohorts Cullen and Ben, and Dan Miller scored almost every time he walked on the field. Tom Annen threw 3 straight goals on his last 3 possessions to catch fire and even got a D. Evan Klane threw 2 straights breaks, one of them to Tim Pearce on defense?! Evan, Shane and Lokke would both get sick D’s down the stretch as it ended 15-1 in a quick game. Madison would have an hour and a half to nap before playing St. Olaf in the last pool play game.
St. Olaf had pretty good disc skills as a team, but did not have the dominant athletes to match up with Wisconsin. Bucket went deep to the unguardable Foster for the 1-0 Hodag lead. The defense immediately broke after a quick turn and transition mid-range shot from Muffin finds Lokke in the end zone 2-0. Dan Miller would get the D and score the goal from Doede as Wisconsin leads 3-0. Wisconsin would jump to a 5-1 advantage with Kevin Riley continuing to dominate for the Offense and Seth Meyer dominating for the Defense, catching a goal from Miller. After a Heijmen bomb to J-Fo again, Muffin would go deep to Doede for the break and 7-2 lead. The team energy would be unstoppable as Heijmen caught the goal for half on a break from Rebholz 8-3. The D would break immediately out of half as Muffin hit Doede deep for the 9-3 lead. Evan Klane would throw 2 straight goals for breaks as the D line was calling for the oats 11-3 Despite 2 Shane D’s and a sick Bobby Lau break, the Defense failed to convert and the oatbag opportunity was lost at 11-4. Riley would find Feldman deep for the 12-4 lead as the Offense was having a great time. Gaynor would get into the action by getting 2 sick D’s and Muffin was still looking deep as he hit Lokke for the break 13-4.
At this point the game degenerated into hilarity. Big brother Seth Meyer, a grad student in his 5th year of college, was matched-up against his younger brother from St. Olaf. First, Seth gets a layout D on his brother and the Hodags went iso stack Seth. Seth put on two nasty moves and juked his brother so bad; he had him running in the opposite direction as Seth pwned for the open in-cut. The Hodags would turn it on the goal line and St. Olaf jacked it deep. Cullen Geppert made up the last 10 yards to his man and just as St. Olaf was going for the catch, Cullen lays out like 5 feet in the air for the layout D! The sideline erupts and Seth gets the chance to do his little bro one more time as he iso stack jukes him again and went deep for the Animal huck 14-4. The game wasn’t over as the crowd cheered for round 2 of the brother battle. Little bro needed some revenge as Meyer on Meyer violence ensued. First little bro got a D on Seth in the air, then Seth got a D on his bro with a second layout D. The rivalry would heat up as the Hodags refused to throw a goal to anyone but Seth who was still being guarded by his brother. Miller finally punched it in as Seth caught the game winner 15-5 and promptly spiked it on his bro. It was an extremely hilarious and super sweet ending to the game as the Meyer family worked out its differences on the field. It was all in good fun as they hugged it out and took a family photo as Madison won the pool 3-0 and would be set to play Whitewater in semifinals to finish Saturday.
Wisconsin would hit game speed in every single warm up drill. The focus and intensity was there immediately as the team took this as a serious game, not like Sectionals. Madison wanted to destroy Whitewater and prove to them that they could not stay in a game with the Hodags and that 15-10 was not something to expect. The Hodag O would come out strong, as Heijmen went deep to Feldman for the 1-0 lead. The Defense went into dominate mode as a quick drop by Whitewater allowed Shane to hit Scallet for the O2 goal and break 2-0. As the D quickly pulled, Andrew Mahowald gets a D in the lane and then catches the double happiness goal from Shane for the 3-0 lead. Wisconsin would punch in one more break as Seth finds Cullen for the 4-0 lead. Whitewater finally calls a timeout and is utterly dismayed with the start of the game. They could only hope to contain the momentum of the Hodags, as UW-WW finally scored 4-1. Kevin Riley would get right back to work, hitting Ben Feldman deep for the 5-1 Wisconsin lead. Skywalker Mahowald would get a goal line D and again take the double happiness as Muffin brutalized the mark for the ESP break side throw to Drew for 6-1. Jon Gaynor would grab a D as Lokke hit Jeremiah for the break to go up 7-1. Half was taken as Heijmen tosses a backhand to Pearce for the 8-2 halftime lead.
That kind of intensity completely rocked Whitewater as they struggled to refocus on the game. Whitewater would resort to the high release backhand to cash in an O point and a break, as Richgels was setting the tone with hard cuts to bring it to 8-4. Heijmen got the O back on track as he found Kevin Riley on the break side for the 9-4 hold. Q-Tip was rocking kids left and right as he got a sick in the air D and then went deep from Muffin for the 10-4 break goal. Whitewater would bounce back, scoring 3 in a row as Ari, Strohm, and Sarge abused the O2 cuts 10-7. The struggling Hodag O looked to Pop Tarts to sober Wisconsin up, as Schmit rocked a huge backhand deep to Pearce for the 11-7 hold. Heijmen would score the last 3 Hodag O goals and Tom Annen jacked a break goal to Shane as Wisconsin finished strong 15-10. Despite the big lead and total control of the game, the final score was the same as Sectionals.
It was Mifflin Street weekend in Madison, which led to many dedicated fans to postpone the trip to Decorah due to some serious block partying. However, a car consisting of Frederick, Keenan, Brown, and Richter got to the fields so late; they ended up in the woods in sleeping bags. Now that is dedication to Hodag Love. The Pimpdags were excited too, because they would have a chance to compete on Sunday of Regionals. Bella was also excited because nobody could score on them as they only allowed 10 points on the weekend with some stingy defense. The Hodag parents were getting organized and arranged for a pasta dinner that evening, which was awesome. There would be no dinner with the enemy this year.

Central Regional Finals 2007

At 9:30 Saturday night, all 24 Hodags packed into Dan‘s hotel room. When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was finally turned off, the team was ready for the last night of preparation. But instead of the deathly serious attitude, Jon Gaynor held up a children’s book – The Horrible Hodag. The story was read out loud cover to cover before the Hodags would get down to business. Dan Heijmen began to speak of a rivalry, an intense battle, and a true test of grit. To the point, it was life or death for our season and our dreams. Every game from this point on was more important than any game all season. The 5th year players expressed the possibility of it being their last tournament ever. The challenge was issued and Dan’s confidence in our team was contagious as every single Hodag expected to win the following morning. A cheer of “Hodag Love” rang out late that night, hopefully letting the whole hotel know who to fear.
Sleeping in Sunday morning was wonderful as the team rolled in for a late morning breakfast. Wisconsin was sure to get to the fields early in anticipation for a dogfight of a game. With the extra half hour, the Hodags took a leisurely approach to warming up and had plenty of time to warm up all the throws that would be needed for zone offense. As the game time neared, the wind became steadfast and the clouds turned dark. It seemed that Mother Nature could just sense when Regional Finals were about to begin as the weather took a turn for the worse, as expected by every Hodag on the 2005 team. The last minute zone possessions turned ugly with many turnovers and during the Seattle drill, the rain poured down. As Carleton ran possessions on their half of the field, both teams struggling in the rain, the mental battle began as CUT suited up in blue to flip for color. There would be no mind tampering today as the Hodags came in with an unshakable attitude of confidence. As the game began, the pregame huddle was one of excitement and energy. With so much focus and importance on this single game, Wisconsin was extremely pumped to play. The D Line was pulling upwind to start the game and shit hit the fan almost instantly. A battle of physical play, layout D’s, and upwind hucks ensued as a 10-15 minute war took place. When Tom Animal finally found Andrew Mahowald in the upwind end zone for the first break, the planet Earth stopped rotating. The entire Wisconsin sideline sprinted onto the field in a frenzy of cheers and roaring excitement. The disc was immediately spiked as hard as possible as the Wisconsin team approached the pinnacle of game time excitement.
As Wisconsin pulled downwind and set the Zone, the wind picked up and moving the disc became an issue. Shane Hohenstein got a layout D near the end zone but Madison could not convert. After several Carleton punts, Animal rips a huge backhand huck down the sideline, finding Doede toeing the sideline for the break and 2-0 lead. The Hodags again rushed the field mad crazy style and looked to intimidate Carleton in any way possible. Again, the disc was spiked so hard that a new game disc came into play. CUT was feeling shaky, the Hodags were freaking out. However, Carleton was sure to respond. Chris Doede got a layout D near the upwind end zone on Jacob Goldstein that was overruled as “no foul” by the observer, but Madison could not punch it in as CUT scored downwind to bring the game to 2-1. With the Hodag O-face finally making an appearance, Carleton had some sneaky defense in place as the offside handler D was poaching into the throwing lane. Veteran Jacob Goldstein was clearly poaching off of Dan “Crazy Eyes” Schmit. For the first time in his life, Bonkers actually got angry and the moment he received the swing break from Rebholz and found no mark anywhere, Schmittles n’ Bits went for the home run, finding Heijmen deep in the back of the downwind end zone for the goal 3-1. As soon as Heijmen spiked the disc, Schmit begins to scream, “That’s right! THAT’S RIGHT! If you fucking poach on me, I’m gonna score every fucking time!” As soon as Schmit swore, twice consecutively, that was all the D line needed – another reason to get crazier on the field.
As the D line pulled, the HO-DAGS cheer was already gaining steam as even Richter was cheering for Wisconsin. This point would be all Q-Tip’s as Mista Milly put on a show to remember. As Carleton tried to go deep again and again, Dan Miller was always there to D it, catch D it, or make sure it hit the ground. However, Madison was struggling against the stiff winds with several turnovers. However, Miller eventually got the deep D and the double happiness, catching the upwind break from Tom Annen, 4-1 Madison. The Defense was playing outstanding and the Offense was merely watching the destruction ensue. As Muffin ripped another huge pull downwind, Carleton was determined to score this time. The disc was worked all the way to the goal line as Madison had to transition out of their broken zone, but CUT could not punch in the goal as Dan Miller was cleaning up everything going mid range upwind as well. On Gaynor’s first point of finals, Jon got a layout D as he recalled, “On the first point I played, I couldn’t feel my legs as I ran down on the pull. After my first layout D, I couldn’t feel my body!” With pure adrenaline and red bull pumping through the Hodag veins, Madison could sense the Carleton fear and intimidation. As Animal, Muffin and Bucket worked the disc calmly downfield, an errant under throw in the upwind third of the field made for a pivotal play. Instead of giving CUT the disc near the end zone with a chance to bring the game to 4-2, Andrew Mahowald made a filthy springy layout snatch catch over waist high to ensure possession. At the moment it was a game changing grab and got everyone fired up. The sense of urgency to destroy was overwhelming as Tom Annen had the game of his life, finding Mahowaldy in the downwind end zone for the break and lead 5-1.
The Hodag cutter defenders were in kill mode and were making the most exciting and ridiculous plays ever. However, the final blow was about to be taken. Carleton was still unable to put the disc in the downwind end zone due to the explosive nature of the defense and a goal saving layout D by Matt Rebholz. Wisconsin had finally earned a turnover and was looking to move the disc around quickly to transition the defense into man. This time, CUT made a major mistake; they forgot to put on a hard force on the turn. As Muffin received the disc in the middle of the field, an honest mark was what Malecek had been waiting for. Before Goldstein realized what was happening a 55 yard upwind flick was unleashed put perfectly on a platter. Will Lokke raced to the back of the end zone and box out skied for the break, 6-1 Wisconsin. With 5 breaks in start the game, the Wisconsin Hodags had reached a level a new level of achievement. The focus of the team and excitement from the crowd could be heard on the whole complex as the confidence of the Hodags was shining. The Defense was playing out of their minds!
At this point, Carleton called a timeout as the Hodags screamed for more. But this time, Carleton showed some resiliency and fight as they held on O to score upwind 6-2. Carleton was able to break back downwind and bring the game to a 6-3 margin with Goldstein and Baylis were giving their team some life. With a huge lead and ridiculously windy conditions, protecting the upwind end zone became a must. And thus, the Kevin Riley turnover extravaganza began. Bucket would walk to where the pull landed and throw it as high and as far as he could. The first deep backhand launch was way out in front of Jim Foster. Jimmy made up a lot of ground and bid in the back of the end zone, sticking the catch with an incredible snatch, but losing possession with the hard ground contact. It was no matter as Madison quickly grabbed the turn and K-Fed found Heijmen for the 7-3 advantage. With the D line going back upwind, the consensus was to throw deep balls to the superior Wisconsin cutters. Evan Klane ripped a huge upwind pull, but another punt from Carleton gave Madison the disc on the goal line. An awesome backfield juke puts Evan in O2 power position and he immediately hucks his backhand as far as he can. As Shane and Andrew attempt to read the huge throw, Mahowald makes his move first, jumping and macking the disc between a sandwich of CUT defenders, but Skywalker’s touch mack, allowed Shane to swoop in a snatch up the trash for the break upwind to take half 8-3! The halftime talk was short and sweet; finish, punish, punt, and destroy.
However, as the 2nd half began with the Wisconsin O going downwind, the momentum would change. CUT would break out some sticky handler defensive pressure as Kevin Riley dropped a goal line swing and Carleton immediately converted for the upwind break 8-4. As the sun made an entrance, and the clouds burned off, the wind stiffened. With a 3-3-1 Trap Zone, Carleton was killing the Wisconsin popping and quickly shoved the disc in for another break 8-5. No one on the Wisconsin sideline flinched because we all believed we would win. On the third attempt out of half, the O-face finally scored as Miller found Marsh for the goal 9-5. Seth Meyer got in the game and saved a goal with a D for the moment, but the Defensive O could no longer score upwind easily as CUT brought the game to 9-6. Rebholz would fire a disc deep down the line to Tim Pearce, but a sick bid by Sam Bob did not find the mark because of a huge gust and Pearce would not touch the disc either as Jack Marsh read the wind for the downwind goal as Madison extended its lead to 10-6.
At this point, the D line began to watch the O line get to work. Jack Marsh scored or threw 5 straight goals in the second half as he found Heijmen for the 11-7 lead. After the 3rd straight bomb huck for a goal, a cut player yells, “We know your strategy Madison!” Miller, standing behind the CUT player, says, “What? Win.” With that kind of mentality, it would be “easy as pie” as CUT would attempt a zone, only to be scored upon in 2 throws; a down the line hammer from Matt Rebholz to Marsh who hit Heijmen with a cross field backhand for the 12-8 lead. Madison was still punting downwind as Heijmen skied Goldstein, Fat Sam, and Jim Foster for the 13-9 lead on a 500 floaty ball. With the game coming down to the wire, the D line wanted back into the action. Dan Miller was doing his best with Muffin and Animal to work the zone and finally found Shane with a crossfield floaty backhand. As the deep-deep crashed, Shane skied, received a nuts shot, and still jacked his flick all the way to Doede on the end zone line. Carleton was getting desperate and #8 called a travel from 30 yards away, claiming some shuffling of feet after the contact. Muffin responded to #8, “That is a terrible call” with the response coming “Muffin, you are horrible at ultimate.” It did not matter as the observer overruled the call and Muffin grabbed the dump and found a wide open Will Lokke for the upwind break 14-9. With game point on the line, Madison stacked the line. The game ended most fittingly, with Captain Matt Rebholz breaking the mark on the goal line to Captain Dan Heijmen for the 15-9 Central Region Championship. The Hodags rushed the field out of relief and the alumni hugged it out. Brian Frederick and Nate Hurst had now seen everything, a second straight Hodag Regional crown. Wisconsin had beaten Carleton in Regionals for the second straight year and had clinched a Nationals birth.
The Hodags graciously thanked the sideline full of fans and parents and even ran through a Bella chunnel. The tradition of Bushmills continued and everyone had their moment to speak to the team. Wisconsin had reached its first goal of the season, to win Regionals. At 49-1 and 6 tournament victories this spring, the Hodags should be a consensus #1 seed for the College Championship Series. Thank you to all of the parents who traveled to Luther to support the team, it was incredible. Wisconsin will be looking for the clean sweep, as Belladonna captured a Regional title as well, 14-5 and most likely the #2 seed at Nationals.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blue/Black & Alumni Scrimmage Spring 2007 - Madison’s Best Idea Ever

The annual spring Blue/Black Hodag Scrimmage is an exciting weekend. The speculation and anticipation for the team announcements is always a hot topic. For the second straight year, the teams would be the same units that have been working together all year – that’s right, O v D. Upon learning the teams, the D line immediately became enraged and traded away the entire class of freshman to the Offense, knowing these n00bs would have no idea of the intensity needed to crush the O. The kicker was that the D traded for a single first round draft pick that ended up being a Black Animal for a Blue Animal.
The O was still confident and unfazed by the D line’s weak smack talking. However, for any returning D line player, the hatred for the O-face was still burning with a passion because the D wanted to prove that last year’s beat down of the O was not a fluke. The dislike for the O also comes from the fact that the O wastes away the D’s breaks like they grow on trees. The O just doesn’t seem to realize how hard those breaks are to earn. It is not the desire to beat the other team, but the pure hatred for the Offense the drives the D line to fire up and score breaks.
As the rivalry and shit-talking heated up, the teams even looked unfair on paper. But the Offence was as cocky as ever because they had been starting with the disc all year and thought they could score at will and on anyone. It turns out, the D line is just not anyone, and in fact, they are the best line the nation. That’s right – Wisconsin’s D line has more studs than most All-Region teams. It’s all about the M’s with Miller, Mahowald, and Muffin. Add some Skallet’d Animal, a little Spainzilla topping, and all that is required is a Gaylord, traitor to Carleton, and the fanatical intensity of a Doede to be completely unstoppable. Take all that firepower and slate it against whomever, even the Wisconsin Offense and it will be a beat down.
As it turns out, the D line was so upset with the teams that they vowed to punish the O-face captains for their treachery. As Saturday morning blurred into focus, the D line was rolling out of bed later than a Rodrigo. The O-face was cleated up and throwing even before a Burkly would set up the fields. Something had to give. And that turned out to be the wind as blustery early morning gusts reached 25 mph at any moment. Despite the sunny and hot weather, the game was still an upwind-downwind battle. The disc jumped, hopped, and eloped from the D to start the game as the O broke upwind Rebholz to Heijmen 1-0. Foster started with that little smirk as Dan Heijmen spiked the crap out of the disc – screaming and firing up his Blue team. It must have been the disc spike, because the D line was determined to murder the O. But it would take a moment for the D to respond as the D, not used to receiving pulls was struggling to score as the O-face punched in another break back downwind as Rebholz found Jimmy Foster 2-0. The D line was getting frustrated as Doede began shouting at Shane, who then threatened to hurt Muffin, who in turn vowed to murder Miller. With all the animosity on the field, the O easily broke upwind one more time, as Riley found Pearce for the 3-0 lead. The Defense decided it was time and hit the B button repeatedly and sparked a rampage. A methodical upwind zone offense by the D was incredible as Scallet and Muffin both remained chilly as Animal shoved it into Lokke for the 3-1 score. Once the D line started pulling the disc, it was over. There was just a feeling and mentality in the air of rage and destruction. Possession after possession the D line scored, it was soon a 6-3 lead with 5 straight breaks. Shane was getting D’s, Lokke was catching goals, and Gaynor was absolutely pooping on everyone, getting 2 deep D’s and at least 2 goals deep from Muffin. Black had finally backed up the trash-talking with a little bit of action, but the struggling O managed to put it together long enough to get to 6-4, before half was taken 7-4 by the Black Defense.
Heijmen had done his best in the first half, dropping bombs deep, laying out, punching defenders, and yelling on the field. After the first several breaks, the O became frustrated and pissed, which led to several displays of outrage that several unwitting fans snickered at. As the Black players resorted to intimidation and Carletonesque maneuvers like fouling on the mark and stomping on hands, the numbers turned as it was suddenly 10 vs. 8 in favor of Black, as Kevin Riley left mid point in a run to the hospital. The Offense bit their lip and tried not to cry from the stretch marks during their halftime speech. The Defense was in their circle joking about pillaging villages, eating babies, and where to stack the OATBAGS. As the second half begun with the D pulling upwind, the Offense was still struggling with drops and miscues as the Defense was pondering the best way to leave it in. Dan Miller and SpainZilla were setting the tone with physical defense and straight haggard marks – beefing up an already scary line. Right out of half, the D broke upwind and downwind for good measure, now to lead 9-4. However, with both a Black Animal and a Mahowald on the field going every other, the D could just relax and dominate with their superior athleticism. The Defense was not satisfied either as it was a race to the OATBAG. It would be all Black down the stretch as the D line poured on the breaks after several O drops near their end zone with the swirling gusty winds. As the game came down to the wire, Jim Foster and Dan Miller started to battle. Twice Q-Tip went for the layout D on Foster, and twice J-Fo got the best of it snatching both discs 4-12, but it would be too little too late as the Black squad wins 13-5. The O line had been slaughtered and the Defense was happy to have defeated a line of players that they have learned to hate guarding on the field. Now it wouldn’t matter how often the O-face complained, cried, spiked on, and abused the D from then on, because the Defense would have bragging rights. I think everyone knows how valuable bragging rights are off the field when those competitive juices get flowing.
As the Hodags came into their respective Blue and Black huddles after the game, the emotions could not be more different. The Black D was excited and confident; the Blue O was tired, frustrated, and in disbelief, possibly even denial. The full team huddle was still one of love as the Hodags would need to play well to beat one of the best alumni teams conglomerated in years. With recent Alumni still dominating, there would be ridiculous lines available like Brown, Tyson, Paradise, Gigo, Tripoli, Tyler, and even a Richter. The Hodag alumni definitely have a decorated resume when it comes to ultimate achievements – National Championships, National Finals appearances, Callahan nominees, and some straight filthy good players. However, the “best team ever assembled” rumor had spread all the way to the alumni and fans during the course of the 2007 season and many alumni wanted a look for themselves. A Hodag team with the best record in a season to date at 49-1 was evidence in itself. The farthest traveling award was a push between Burkly from New York, Pohl from Cali, Grant from Oregon. With CRez coming from the Cities and Ted from Boulder, it was sure to be an epic battle.
As a larger crowd gathered, the alumni began to swarm the sideline. The annual Hodag-Alumni game was going to be one for the ages. The alumni came out chill and calmly broke the Hodags as Brown and Tyson were unflappable 1-0 alumni. It was more of the same as the alums put on some pressure D when Andrew Brown made a sweet over the shoulder layout D on the upwind goal line, continuing his trend of reckless play and causation of injuries at alumni games, as he smashed into an unsuspecting Mike Bevers kneecaps. The alumni quickly converted as Jimmy Mac rushed the field 2-0 alumni. The Offense had already been tested and broken on the day, so they were finally ready to respond. Jim Foster and Tim Pearce began using their open field speed as the Hodags scored 1-2. The D Line, watering at the mouth to get into the game, breaks right back as Hohenstein, Mahowald, and Muffin would three man weave the disc continuously 2-2. The alumni would respond as Paradise threw a huge upwind flick goal to Keenan as Heijmen was not expecting such a ballsy throw 2-3. The Hodag O had seen enough zone on the day and were ready to dominate it as Dan Heijmen and Miller began popping the crap out the seemingly unpenateable 1-2-6-2-1 zone to bring the game to 3-3.
It was a dogfight of a possession as a huge flick blade pull by Muffin touches Charlie and slips out the back of the end zone. With CRez clearly trapped, he tosses and completes his first upwind hammer. When he is still trapped in his end zone, he makes the second upwind hammer, but this time the wing was ready. Rodrigo cemented his position and went up strong pulling down the double helix as Lokke smashed into Valdivia’s legs and put him upside down on his head. The alumni were persistent as they plinco-ed the disc across the field to Jon “6’1” Schutkin who fires a nice upline upwind forehand shot to Hackbarth for the 3-4 lead. And then the pussy foul calls started. Andrew Brown, making Careletonesque calls left and right was calling his 2nd straight receiver foul on a deep shot to cover his ass he a claimed J-Fo hit his hand. The treachery worked as the alumni broke for the 3-5 lead as Tripoli was jacking his forehand. It was still early in the game but the alumni looked rusty at points, with superstar players turfing throws in the swirling wind. On the other hand, the warmed up Hodag O was hitting stride as Heijmen connects with Marsh for 4-5 now. It was becoming a battle as no one could completely command control of the game as Tyson Park could not keep the his blade flick inbounds for Ted Tripoli deep in the transition game. Muffin would oblige to the punting tactics as he put the next throw 20 yards OB as well. The Hodags would break to even the game at 5-5 as Muffin found his groove and hit Lokke deep. Grant Zukowski would vaguely remember what ultimate was like and how much fun it was as he slices a huge backhand upwind. Even Klane closes on the disc and mack D’s it, but Jon Schutkin cleans up the mack hitting Greg Severin for the score 6-5 alumni. Again the Hodag Offense responded to tie the game 6-6 as Miller skied deep. The Hodags were looking to break as Muffin found Foster in the end zone break lane, almost hitting GZ in the head as Madison scores 7-6. The alumni were not impressed as Tripoli conquered all sorts of jeering and psych outs to keep the pulls deep inbounds. Dean was getting ruthless in-cuts as the Hodag team speed had given way to sheer size and power as the alumni proved they could throw down for one game 7-7. The alumni has several chances to cash in for half, but Brian Frederick doink-ed the disc on the for sure match-up as Snoob closed the gap just in time to get posterized. Jim Foster had played terrible at times during the Blue/Black Scrimmage, but was determined at some point to quote, “I make it rain on dem hoez” as he launched a huck deep to Heijmen 8-7 for half.
During halftime the sideline became lined with spectators as Robin Davies snapped several gems to remember the moment. The Hodag Alumni’s dominate grasp on the undergrads had begun to slip as not even Brown’s 2 terrible foul calls could swell the Hodag momentum. The alumni were so far into despair from the dominance of the Hodags that they resorted to punting the disc to score. The punt and play D strategy actually works even it is really windy and your defense is really good. As the game pushed on Andrew “The Huck” Brown went deep to Grant Zukowski for a trailing edge run down score 8-8. Tyson Park grabbed a quick Hodag turnover and jacked it almost full field as Nate Hurst pulled it down for the score 8-9 alumni. As the game came down to the wire, the intensity rose instantly. The sideline became silent as everyone could sense the impending importance. The Hodags took the lead 11-10 as Marsh scored from Heijmen who had just caught a deep shot. However, Andrew Brown was closing on the deep throw and could have layed out into Heijmen for the D, but on the side of safety pulled up last moment to not injure Dan this year. They Hodags were thankful, but the alumni were getting antsy as bragging rights were clearly on the line and as the anticipation grew into uneasiness 13-12 Hodags. As the Hodags pushed the lead to 14-12, Godrigo Valdivia read the Tim Pearce in-cut and made a super clutch layout D near midfield to give the alumni some momentum. However, Paradise went for the kill shot immediately and the wind snatched the disc and drove it OB. The alumni would only get one point closer 14-13 as Richter began a series of chest bumps and leg kicks to intimidate Matt Rebholz on every offensive move. It was Dan Heijmen fittingly ending the game as he rips a big forehand upwind to end the game.
The BBQ would ensue that evening as Tom Annen was hosting the event. The Hodag history became updated as the current Hodags learned from the alums how the UPA shorts rule came into affect – citing one Dougie’s ripped cargo shorts episode. Tom Burkly unexpectedly took care of this glitch by buying team shorts as his Hodag donation. It was also fun to learn that a Wisconsin player in Andy Pohl nominated a Carleton player for the Callahan. As brats were sacrificed, Chris Doede would later been seen double fisting bottles of Bushmills. For the first time in the last 4 years, Dan Heijmen leads the Hodags to victory over the Alumni.