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.

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