Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mardi Gras 2008

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The Wisconsin Hodags have been training relentlessly since the Fall Semester ended. With only 2 indoor practices before Mardi Gras; the Hodags would need to be in incredible shape to compensate for inadequate disc skills. Many preparations would be necessary as the team discussed the season’s expectations, conducted player interviews, set individual goals, and came together for team pasta dinner before leaving Thursday evening. However, the weather did not cooperate, causing 2 cars to travel over 26 hours to reach Baton Rouge, and another car to land in a ditch due the huge snowstorm that hit Illinois. The rain was even a problem in Louisiana, making several different locations for the tournament.

The Hodags would roll 25 deep and be set to play Winona State in the first round of pool play. Wisconsin would begin on Offense because Coach Foster lost the first of many flips on the weekend. After a sloppy Bucket turnover, the Offense would recover as Lokke bombed deep to James Foster for the lead 1-0. The Defense busted out with a vengeance as Muffin fired deep shots. Malecek twice found Mahowald for breaks and Hohenstein tossed another to Tom Murray as the Wisconsin energy was overpowering. Animal shredded his mark for another break to Seth Meyer as the Hodags erupted to a 5-0 lead. The Hodag Offense continued to work out the kinks, needing 2 chances to punch in the score as Rebholz found Will Lokke on the open side for the goal 6-1. Kevin Riley threw his first of many hammers to Evan “Lazer” Klane as Wisconsin took half 7-2. Andrew Mahowald made a sky D to start the second half and hauled in the goal from Seth Meyer for the double happiness and 8-2 Wisconsin lead. The Winona State Experience connected on a deep shot to make the game 8-3. The Wisconsin O-face would need 2 possessions before Evan Klane found K-Fed for the goal now 9-3. Tom Annen would throw a goal to Seth and Pat “Diablo” Donovan would hit Jeremiah for a goal to make the score 11-3. On the next point, Cullen would get a partial hand block – leading to a Shane Hohenstein nasty layout D. Muffin would connect with the C-Monster deep for the partial double happiness now 12-3. Tom “Air Animal” would get a sky D, allowing Jon Marshall to find Teacher Taco Young for the goal now 13-3. Wisconsin would finish the game on a 7-0 run to complete the OATBAG as John Bergen scored the last goal from Lazer Klane, 15-3 Hodags. It was a fantastic opening performance and the Hodags were only going to get better as they roamed the complex for Coke products, bagels, and jambalaya.

Wisconsin would run drills during the time between rounds, taking advantage of every second of beautiful southern weather. The Hodags would play the Wash U. Contrabears in the second round of pool play and to the surprise of the team, start on Defense. Wisconsin would grind out a turnover with savage under defense leading to the familiar connection of Malecek hitting Mabrowald for a break 1-0. Wash U scored on a deep connection and the Wisconsin O-face responded as Rebholz rocketed a “Boom Headshot!” to Jimmy Foster flying deep 2-1. Wash U would continue to hold on offense and both teams traded, as Kevin Riley hit Lokke on a hammer and Rebholz with an O2 to make it 4-3 Hodags. Malecek continued to force the disc deep for Wisconsin, again finding the Golden Hand for a break 5-3. The Wisconsin Offense would be consistent as ever, as Captain Matt Rebholz hauled in a goal from Jon Gaynor to make it 6-4. Wisconsin would not be satisfied with the direction the game was going and decided to strategically put 5 cutter defenders on the field, causing an instant whirlwind of destruction. A barrage of layout attempts ensured as Cullen snacked on a break side layout D. Tom Annen finished the play with a nice looking break throw for the goal 7-4. With a chance to take half going downwind, Wisconsin would open up the lines.

Wash U fired away deep, leading to 2 deep Malecek D’s, that were immediately jacked in the other direction for turnovers, despite one hitting Masler in the eyeball. Eventually Muffin would take a 45 yard under to Doede and Turtle would call an injury, as he had chipped his shell. Wisconsin would substitute in the K-Federation who promptly burnt his man O2 several times before tossing a sick cross field hammer to Jeremiah for the break to half 8-4. The momentum would clearly be shifting to the Wisconsin point of view, as they started on Offense in the 2nd half. Kevin Riley continued his dominance, eventually jacking a huge backhand goal to Jim Foster, but not before “injuring a defender like he was playing baseball,” with a horrific looking follow-through to the face. The Bucket responded to allegations by saying, “Train’s on the track, better get off em.” The Defense would continue to punish as Animal found Jon Marshall for a break now 10-5 Wisconsin. The Contrabears would eventually convert 10-6 and Wisconsin knew they had missed their Oatbag opportunity. Coach Foster sauntered onto the field and on his 6th point of the weekend; catch his 5th goal now 11-6. The Wisconsin Defense picked up right where they left off, cashing in 3 straight breaks to complete the interrupted OATBAG as Malecek, Mahowald, and Murray all tossed goals 14-5. The C-Monster would almost draw another TMF for hurting a Contrabear and Wash U would hold to make it 14-6. Kevin Riley threw his 5th goal in the game to Tim Pearce as Wisconsin rolled to a solid victory 15-6. Riley’s departing words for Wash U. were, “I hope you can sleep at night!” referring to an earlier bad call. Coach Foster would apologize diligently for the Bucket’s embarrassment and then consult Oklahoma about losing the flip before any Hodags noticed.

Nobody from Madison knew much about Oklahoma, except that Tulsa sucked to drive too, but Wisconsin was focused on working hard to improve during the best opportunity to practice before TiV. Rebholz would reiterate this in the huddle, urging the team to cherish every point and play with intensity. His words inspired only the most gluttonous on the team, as Fat Schlokke responded to have his best game of the tournament. Wisconsin started on O-face and from the Iso-stack Lokke bombed deep to Foster for the goal 1-0. On the ensuring D point, Andrew Mahowald would throw a ridiculous backhand huck, which would be called back on a travel. Animal and Muffin would patiently weave the disc to score 2-0. The Hodags rocketed to a 5-1 lead as Lokke caught a deep shot from Rebholz and Tom Murda scored two breaks. The Offense eventually struggled and turned the disc to Oklahoma, but this would only allow Jimmy Foster to cash in a double happiness from Rebholz to the 6-2 lead. Muffin and Animal would continue to weave the disc for another break and Shane tossed a nice flick to Andy Holt as Wisconsin took half 8-2. The game was moving right along as Ben Feldman got a good looking layout D, but Oklahoma would convert to make it 8-3. Will Lokke would throw a beautiful backhand looping huck to Gaynor for the hold 9-3. Wisconsin would seize the momentum and run away with the game as the Resource Monopoly conglomerate of Animal, Bergen, and Muffin dominated Oklahoma en route to an OATBAG and 15-4 win. John Bergen made 2 layout D’s on one point, only to turn it and drop it right back. Oklahoma was looking for reasons to end this game and even forfeited the last point with a white flag and smile.

Wisconsin was determined to play like it was championship Sunday already and ran zone possessions against itself in anticipation that the wind would pick up against Texas State. The Texas State Buckets have been a familiar foe of Wisconsin in the past several years, playing tougher and tougher and their style looking more like Texas every year. The wind would be picking up to about 15-20 mph upwind-downwind with lulls and bursts. Foster lost the flip so Wisconsin started on Offense going downwind. Rebel and the O-face worked the disc into the red zone before Riley forced a huge hammer to Gaynor for a turnover, giving Texas State the chance to move the disc all the way to the goal line before Will Lokke grabbed a D. Lazer Klane would rifle a backhand deep to Will Lokke for the double happiness 1-0. The D line would earn several turns, the first being a huge layout D by Shane Hohenstein, but would not be able to punch in a break 1-1. The O-face would hold as Gaynor put a nice backhand to space for Lokke to run down now 2-1. Matt Young, who was recently injured in conditioning practice by fellow Old Man and buddy Seth Meyer, began taking rigorous stats and hilarious video. It was a shame that Wisconsin would record over the footage they shot on Saturday, sincerely hurting the chance for a dominant Mardi Gras highlight video. However, the D line would continue to crush as Muffin throws a nice forehand looper to Andy Holt for the break 3-1. Texas State would score to bring the game to 3-2 and the Offense would struggle to score on their first attempt. However, Will “The Red Headed Mexican” Lokke made his second double happiness of the game by skying for a D and then going deep for a K-Fed huck now 4-2 Wisconsin. The Defense cashed in a Chris Doede D as Animal hits Andrew Mahowald on the break side now 5-2. It should be noted that Animal’s stock was actually falling at this moment because of his horrendous looking beard and weak foul calls. The D line would falter and the Offense would again miss fire on a deep huck. Texas State would make them pay and cash in the first break on the Wisconsin Offense on the day, now 5-4. It would be the first time all season that the Defense would begin muttering under their breath about the damn O-face, trying to ruin the game. However, the O line showed their true colors and calmly scored on the zone upwind to as Foster hit Lokke for the easy score 6-4. The Wisconsin Defense was furious when they took the field and were determined to not allow the Buckets to score. It would take three chances with the disc before Animal hits Doede for the break 7-4. The game intensity was rising steadily and maxing out with a Shane form tackle on the mark. The Hodags would capture half as Animal scored on a short pass from Andrew Mahowald 8-4. As the momentum shifted for the Hodags, Jake Smart puts on an aggressive mark just as Pat Donovan leaps for a disc and misses it by several feet (blaming his contacts the whole way). As Muffin trots to the disc as the other team can’t help but notice that Morfin is adorning new shades, which shield his dark holes where his eyes should be, and even cornrows, which give the nostalgic feeling of the ballsy and transformed 2006 Morfin. Malecek would send a deep throw and Diablo would eat it up for the goal now 9-4. Texas State holds on offense as Squirtle falls awkwardly and yells obscenities on the field when tricked by an opposing player. The rested O-face would take the field, giving Kevin Riley the opportunity for a well placed hammer to the Zip-Lokke 10-5. Texas State is determined to battle on, but Wisconsin has already vowed dominance from that first break of the day. It would take 4 attempts for Wisconsin to cash in the downwind break and play slowed to a crawl and even stopped completely when Shane and Muffin began to argue so vehemently that even Texas State stopped to look. It seemed that Muffin wanted to huck deep and Shane wanted to come under – causing a jawing match right on the field and defense to be abandoned. Eventually Animal would hit Jake Smart for the goal to make it 11-5. The Defense would be back on track as T Murda hits Seth for a break 12-5. The Buckets began to tire and a silly throw gives Evan Klane the disc on the goal line. Lazer turns it over immediately as the disc sticks on his finger and careens to nobody. Tom Murda would get a D in the end zone and Evan would take the disc on the cone. Lazer releases a dominant full field huck and Feldman snags the disc in a sandwich for the break 13-5. Kevin would rush the field and do a perfect reenactment of Lazer’s “Pew! Pew!” before tossing one last goal to Lokke as Wisconsin won 15-6, on the back of the Red Headed Mexican who scored 6 goals and made 2 D’s.

Wisconsin would stretch, and realize that the Pimpdags had eaten all of the jambalaya, which would lead to the longest Olive Garden meal in history before hitting the tournament party in search for tomorrow’s schedule. Wisconsin eventually resigned that games would begin at 9am with pre-quarters and went to bed by 1:30am, after some late night Juno.

Sunday morning would actually be “hot” a word we haven’t used in Wisconsin for months now. However, the Hodags moved many fields down to play first round contender Arkansas. Wisconsin continued to lose the flip and began on Offense, which didn’t really pump up anyone on the Hodags and it showed as the Hodags came out flat, taking two chances before Riley hit Tim Pearce for the goal 1-0. The Hodags starting Defense was more than capable of handling Arkansas’ Ludicrous Speed as Malecek hit a familiar target of Andrew Mahowald for the first break 2-0, but the energy from the sideline was nonexistent. Arkansas would hold on offense and then break the Wisconsin offense with a quick huck strike after the turnover, by their single dominator, (Karl Doege) who was pulling, hucking, and playing D all over the field now 2-2. Kevin Riley would respond by hitting connection with Jon Gaynor for the score 3-2. The Sub Zero duo of Shane and Mahowald would cash in a break 4-2 after a Feldman D. The Wisconsin Defense would suddenly catch fire after a quick Doede outburst, provoking Muffin to toss 2 straight breaks to Jeremiah and Mabrowald just to silence the sideline critics 6-2. Arkansas’ best player finally made the offense churn, hucking deep for a goal as Feldman pulls up on the for sure D opportunity 6-3. The Offense goes deep to Gaynor, but the throw is too deep. Evan Klane comes up with a goal saving layout D on the goal line, and allows Lokke to throw a well placed backhand to Foster slashing deep 7-3. Wisconsin would leave the lines open, not stepping on the throat to take half because Arkansas wasn’t exactly leaving everything on the field. The O-face would take half as Rebholz found Gaynor on the open side 8-4. Wisconsin brings it to half a little angry and the captains come down on the team, knowing that we had to value the disc better. The Defense would take the field with Andrew Mahowald pulling down his 4th goal in 4 points from Seth Meyer for the 9-4 lead. The lines would stay open and Wisconsin would trade to the 14-7 win, capturing 2 more breaks and riding Muffin’s 4 assists and Mabrowald/Gaynor’s 8 goals.

The quarterfinals game would be against Kansas, but the majority of the younger Hodags didn’t even understand the storied history that has existed between Kansas and Wisconsin in the early season. The Hodags had one goal in mind, keep dominating. Kansas had plenty of throwers and even looser trigger fingers as they let hucks fly early and often all game. They scored quickly to start the game 1-0 and Wisconsin responded as K-Fed hit TP just as easily 1-1. On the D-line, Muffin would huck deep to Feldman, who hit Matt Young for the upwind break 2-1. The Hodags would also claim the downwind break with many under looks and Seth hitting Malecek in the end zone 3-1. The rest of the first half traded to 7-5, highlighted only by a Tim Pearce layout D and a sick huck by Gaynor to Lokke going deep. Wisconsin's several zone attempts were thrashed easily as Kansas moved the disc efficiently. Will Lokke cashed in 3 of his 4 goals in the first half (one super nice trailing edge layout grab) and Seth Meyer begins flexing his guns as he added 2 assists. Wisconsin would bring the pain in the second half as Mabrowald and Doede hauled in breaks for the 10-6 lead. Foster and Riley would continue to pace the Offense as the game ended at 13-8 on a deep huck. Kansas had played hard and frustrated the Hodags for stretches and even wanted a highlight video for the game, because their deep game had been clicking. However, Jake switched the wrong tape and ended up recording over the majority of the contest, not to mention all of Saturday’s footage as well. So without good video or a photographer, the press department is sincerely lacking for Wisconsin as Mardi Gras.

The semifinals contest with Texas would be the first game that the Hodags would really get raged up for, probably attributed to the first of the red bull sightings. Texas had just played a tightly contested game with Notre Dame, which ended 14-12. The teams agreed to only switch fields for the finals and Wisconsin and Texas set to do battle. Muffin would strategically flip instead of Foster, winning and electing to start on Defense. The first point was definitely a marathon event as the starting Wisconsin Defense had 4 chances to put in the break! Shane Hohenstein was the fire starter as he made an impressive open side under layout D.

Cullen Geppert got the 2nd D of the point and Andrew Mahowald was 3rd on a deep poach D. The Texas offense was certainly being pushed to their limits, but eventually scored 0-1. The captains of Wisconsin would even the score as Rebholz hucked deep through the foul for the "AND 1" as Matt hit Foster for the tie 1-1. As the Defense took the field for a second time, no possession would be wasted as Muffin hit Shane with a looper for the break 2-1 and Malecek found Doede on the break side for another break 3-1. The game looked to be in Wisconsin’s control, especially after an end zone D by Animal and a super bladey upwind huck by Bergen to Feldman. Ben would call a timeout despite a numbers advantage and be determined to throw a goal. The end zone play wasn’t definitive and Feldman tried to take things into his own hands, attempting an IO break into the teeth of the wind to Seth and brutally turning it over out of bounds. It was so awful, Feldman was demoted back to freshman status and Texas took quick advantage, scoring downwind and then breaking Wisconsin upwind to bring the game to 3-3. The huge momentum swing finally got Wisconsin running on all cylinders as the O-face scored upwind as Will Lokke blasted a super nice backhand to Gaynor for the 4-3 lead. The team’s would trade to 5-5 as Rebholz found Lokke in the end zone on Wisconsin’s O point. With the cap looming in a highly contested game, the pressure was on the Offense to score upwind and Lokke again shouldered the burden and looped a throw to Foster for the score 6-5. Wisconsin took a deep breath and stacked the downwind line to take half; Muffin, Animal, J-Fo, Fat Bill, Mabrowald, Shane, and Doede. It was a line for the ages and Wisconsin pressed its advantage as Muffin caught back to back deep D’s and Foster made a layout D to save a goal in the end zone. Eventually, Wisconsin would work the disc instead of instantly jacking it deep as Doede hit Muffin putting the final touches on a halftime lead 7-5. The Offense would start the second half and Riley would continue to throw air bounce turnovers. Texas would work the disc to the upwind goal, primed to break Wisconsin and pull back into the game for the second time. However, Tim Pearce made a clutch poach D in the end zone. Rebholz would hit Evan Klane O2 who Lazer’ed a sick backhand that was perfectly placed for Tim Pearce to score his double happiness 8-5. Animal would throw a break to Shane for the 9-5 lead, pushing the game into the time cap. Muffin would look off Feldman deep on 2 consecutive cuts, only to toss a deep pass to Bergen who made an outstanding layout catch should high for the last break to win 10-5. It was an extremely competitive game and TUFF will be looking to do some damage this season, except for the bald dude, who made numerous shady foul and up calls.

Wisconsin would move back to their Saturday field to take on fellow central region team Minnesota in the finals of Mardi Gras. The game would be worth $2,000, king cake, and free discs – so it was a must win type of atmosphere. Minnesota had beaten North Texas in semifinals 13-5, after losing to UNT in pool play 10-12 on Saturday, and Grey Duck was looking weary from a long weekend. However, the game would take place in slow motion – as Minnesota was running on fumes and Wisconsin had just played a very intense and fasted pace game with Texas. It would be the most open game of the weekend as no Hodag played more than 6 or 7 points. Wisconsin would jump to a 6-0 lead and shockingly miss the OATBAG. The halftime score would show 7-1 as the O-face had taken the field only twice in the first half. The second half would also begin in a fury as the Hodags took 3 straight breaks out of half to lead 10-1. The game would trade to 13-4 and put the Hodags as Mardi Gras Champions for the 5th straight year. The game would be highlighted by Riley’s 3 assists, Lokke’s 3 goals, Turtle’s 3 straight backfield drops, and the slogan “Take No Prisoners!” Animals stock, which had increased steadily on Saturday, took a deep plunge as his +12 was followed by a +0. Fat Bill wins the award for most dominant as his +22 was followed closely by Mahowald’s +21 and Malecek’s +20.

The Hodags would take a team picture and then get ready for miss to Super Bowl on the 16 hour drive back to Madison. As soon as Feldman posts the highlight video – Wisconsin will be in business. Wisconsin is excited for the prospect of playing super competitive ultimate all weekend in Trouble in Vegas. If the Offense can convert (92% at MG) consistently this weekend, the Defense will hopefully carry Wisconsin to its first Vegas title in the program’s history – as the last 2 defeats in semifinals to Carleton (5-6) and finals to Florida (10-11) have left their marks on Wisconsin’s motivation. It will be difficult for Wisconsin considering that it is a 3 day tournament in the craziest city and still very early in the spring season. But Wisconsin should be warmed up from a weekend in Louisiana and will certainly be looking for a second day rematch with Carleton, this time with a full squad and hunger to prove who is coming out of the Central this year.


Becky said...

I think the best player from Arkansas you're talking about is Karl Doege. Unless he graduated last year..

Anonymous said...

Great post. Stop using the word "would".

Anonymous said...

what frisbee do you use